Towards culturally relevant and responsive teaching of mathematics

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Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
Teacher learning related to the teaching of mathematics in a culturally relevant and responsive way was investigated across various professional development (PD) contexts. The research team examined which of the PD ideas teachers took up and what contradictions teachers faced across multiple PD contexts. This study focused on four major PD efforts in which five teachers participated during one year. Ethnographic methods of participant observation, document collection, and interviews were used, and three main ideas were identified: (a) the importance of developing awareness of students and their communities, (b) teaching strategies to scaffold students’ development of mathematical proficiency, and (c) strategies for structuring student-driven, inquiry based learning for mathematics. A significant research finding indicates that multiple contexts of professional learning presented contradictory messages. Thus, the teachers took up some ideas and left others behind, and they sometimes took up ideas that served conflicting goals of education. An outcome of this study indicates that future studies of teacher PD should focus on the teachers’ perspectives and on the role of individual PD programs within the broader context of multiple professional learning situations.
Caswell, B., Esmonde, I., & Takeuchi, M. (2011). Towards culturally relevant and responsive teaching of mathematics. In C. Rolheiser, M. Evans, & M. Gambhir (Eds.), Inquiry into practice: Reaching every student through inclusive curriculum practices (pp. 64-71). Toronto, CA: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.