Which Way Social Justice in Mathematics Education?

Which Way Social Justice in Mathematics Education?

Which Way Social Justice in Mathematics Education?

Which Way Social Justice in Mathematics Education?


This contributed volume explores equity and social justice within the field of mathematics education. In part one, Helga Jungwirth's introductory chapter provides a strong theoretical overview that is based in actual classroom behaviors and a typology that classifies the various interpretations found within this volume. Also in part one, Laurie Hart discusses developments in equity research in the United States. Part two focuses on results of studies about social justice and their impact on learning in mathematics classrooms in various parts of the world. For example, in a chapter on Peru, social justice does not just encompass gender, but also inequalities in opportunities to learn, such as problems of resources, living and social conditions, communal demands and language needs. And, part three focuses on computers as a resource to mathematics teaching.

The contributors raise several important social justice issues which have previously remained unresearched. Although there are a number of chapters specifically dealing with gender, many of the authors use one of the following strategies: their gender-specific questions are set in a wider socio-cultural context, they challenge what have threatened to become false orthodoxies, or they raise other important issues. These other issues include the meaning of democratic citizenship for mathematics classrooms, the links between parents and children learning mathematics, and the preconceptions of some teachers of underprivileged students in Australia. Other chapters explore different forms of classroom communication, participation, and assessment. The pieces on computers state that there is still not enough research to conclude whether computers in the mathematics classrooms are supportive of, or detrimental to, the learning of all students. The one thing on which every author in this volume does agree is that social justice in mathematics education has still not been attained, but that we must strive toward it to improve educational practices and society in general.


International Perspectives on Mathematics Education is a series of books that provides entry to practitioners and researchers into the many and varied issues of Mathematics Education and looks forward to new challenges and developments in the field. This present volume, which focuses on issues within the broad theme of social justice, is the third to be published within this now wellestablished series. An underpinning rationale for the series, which has persisted from conception through to the present, is that volumes provide an introduction for new researchers as well as stimulation for those seeking to develop their thinking in new or unfamiliar directions. As Series Editor, I am confident that this purpose is being fulfilled, both by the books already in print and those that will follow.

I have enjoyed the role of Series Editor in tire preparation of earlier volumes in the series, as this has provided the opportunity to collaborate with the editors of those books to assure the quality of the work published. This book is different because I have also taken on the editorial role, and thus it has been something of a lone enterprise. It is my earnest hope that this book matches the high standards set by the previous volumes despite the absence of the productive dialogue between editors.

The genesis of this book is explained in me introduction; however, it is appropriate here to draw attention to its roots in the activities of the International Organization of Women in Mathematics Education (IOWME) at the quadrennial meetings of the International Congress of Mathematics Education (ICME). This is the fourth publication of iowme, and it reflects the development of the group’s interests mat have evolved over 16 years from a sharp focus on gender issues to its present wider interest in social justice. Although there are a number of chapters specifically dealing with gender, most authors have adopted one of . . .

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