Practitioner Research: Reflecting on Minoritized Student Agency in a Reform-Based Secondary Mathematics Classroom

Rachel Marie Restani


There is a global demand for mathematics teachers to learn how to facilitate discussions where students make sense of mathematics via problem-solving and reasoning activities. Despite this call for meaningful discussions, they are rarely found in secondary instruction, especially in low-socioeconomic communities. A practitioner research approach was used to document the types of agency students and teacher employed during whole class discussions in a racially and socioeconomically diverse classroom in the United States. Cobb, Gresalfi and Hodge’s (2009) interpretive scheme was used to analyse the ways students chose to identify with the normative expectations of the classroom, documented in the daily field notes and audio recordings. In this paper, two transcripts were used to illustrate examples of student and teacher participation in a
9th–11th grade mathematics classroom. Findings from this research demonstrate the small shifts that occurred allude to the structural constraints of traditional school systems.


practitioner research; equitable whole-class mathematics discussions; agency; status

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