Examining Preservice Mathematics Teacher Learning About Equity
Primary Author: Melissa Graham
Faculty Sponsor: Roth McDuffie
Primary College/Unit: College of Education
Category: Arts and Education Sciences
Prior to student teaching and field experiences, many preservice teachers (PSTs) lack opportunities to experience the challenges they will face in their future classrooms (Putnam & Borko, 2000). Most PSTs are White and female, which may not be representative of many in the population they will go on to teach, and many do not leave their teacher education programs prepared to teach diverse populations (Aguirre et al., 2012). My theoretical framework for this study lies at the intersection of situated learning theory and sociocultural theory, and I view teaching and learning as cultural practices. I researched how situating PST learning in the act of teaching through lesson study influences that learning.
In this study, I examined PST learning related to equity while in an experimental, practice-based mathematics methods course. In this course, the instructor used specific research-based activities (Roth McDuffie et al., 2014; Murata, 2011) to support PSTs in developing teaching practices that support diverse learners. I used qualitative methods to study how PSTs conceptions of equity in teaching and learning changed throughout the course. Data sources included interviews, student assignments, PST lesson plans, field notes, and videos of the lessons taught by PSTs.
My findings suggest that PSTs conceptions of equity changed substantially, and that specific course activities contributed to this change. This study has implications for mathematics teacher educators, a trajectory for PST learning, and the design of teacher education programs.