Moving off track: mathematics teacher education for all attainment teaching

BOYLAN, Mark and POVEY, Hilary (2012). Moving off track: mathematics teacher education for all attainment teaching. In: JACOBSEN, Laura J, MISTELE, Jean and SRIRAMAN, Bharath, (eds.) Mathematics teacher education in the public interest : equity and social justice. International perspectives on mathematics education : cognition, equity and society . Information Age Publishing, 117-158.

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Using previous attainment, often erroneously referred to as 'ability', to form teaching groups for learners of mathematics is regarded as the norm in some countries. Organisation of mathematics teaching by forms such as 'setting' in the UK and 'tracking' in the US is dominant and pervasive. The effects of such practices have been widely documented. Interrogating such practices in relation to different understandings of social justice reveals the multiple ways that they damage many and, arguably, all students' relationships to self, others, society and mathematics. Thus, the notions of both ability and attainment as central principles for structuring mathematics education need to be disrupted: alternative, more socially just, pedagogies are possible.

An important goal in mathematics teacher education for social justice is to challenge beginning teachers' assumptions that support the reproduction of such practices. A range of strategies has proven to be effective to support beginning teachers to question setting and tracking. These include the experience of, and reflection on, learning mathematics in all-attainment contexts, examination of one's own and others' mathematical biographies, examination of research and scholarship, and analysing systemic factors experientially. More challenging is finding ways to support beginning teachers to develop pedagogical strategies to enact alternatives within policy and school contexts that are hostile to change in this direction. Tensions and dilemmas related to this latter issue are discussed.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Institute of Education
Depositing User: Kate Wallace
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2013 11:49
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2015 10:52

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