Toward an equity pedagogy for school mathematics: An investigation of pre-service elementary teachers' conceptions

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Increasing diversity in the United States has impacted the goals of education to focus greater attention on issues of race, culture, and equity. In school mathematics data indicate that African American, Latino, and Native American students continue to trail their White and Asian American peers on most measures of achievement and persistence and that these students lack access to mathematics education that allows them to thrive in school and society. Researchers and mathematics educators suggest that progress toward equity in mathematics education can be made when teachers of mathematics implement equity pedagogy that supports the mathematics learning and achievement of diverse learners. Teachers’ knowledge of mathematics, their preparation to teach mathematics, and their beliefs about and skill for teaching diverse students are all aspects of equitable instruction. This study investigated conceptions of equity held by pre-service elementary teachers who were enrolled in a mathematics methods course. These pre-service teachers’ discourse with respect to race in the context of mathematics education was also investigated with specific attention to if and how they addressed race and their explanations of why race was or was not addressed with respect to equity in school mathematics. The practical objective of the study is to determine pre-service teachers’ existing conceptions, knowledge, and dispositions in order to identify the ways in which they can be further supported in learning to teach for equity in school mathematics.








University of Delaware