Exploring Math through Social Justice Context Problems
This paper investigates pre-service secondary teachers’ perceptions of learning and teaching mathematics through extended explorations that are contextualized in issues of social importance. The study is situated within a research program concerned with mathematical knowledge used in, and useful for, teaching, and how such knowledge may be fostered in teacher education programs.
This paper presents a case study of a mathematics teacher educator, Leanne, and her story of trying to support the development of two pre-service elementary school teachers with recognized learning disabilities. We analyze data through a lens of mathematical knowledge for teaching, focusing in particular on concerns and tensions about (i) maintaining academic rigor while meeting the emotional, cognitive and pedagogical needs of her students, (ii) seemingly opposing pedagogies between special education and mathematics education practices, and (iii) equitable opportunities for teachers with disabilities and the consequences for their potential pupils. We offer an analysis of Leanne’s personal struggle, highlighting implications for teacher education and offering recommendations for future research.
This chapter presents tasks and task structures for incorporating socially relevant mathematical explorations in secondary school learning. We introduce and develop Social Justice Context Problems, highlighting issues in food affordability, fairness, and bullying, with connections to Canadian curricula. The structure for our tasks is discussed, and draws upon the constructs of Rich Learning Tasks and Teaching Math for Social Justice. The discussion of examples that we develop includes classroom-ready resources and techniques. We conclude the chapter with a summary of further tasks from math education literature.