University of Kentucky NSF Grant Examines Making Mathematics More Equitable
A new University of Kentucky (UK) study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to make mathematics more relatable to all students by focusing on how teachers respond to children’s experiences, knowledge, and mathematical reasoning.
UK College of Education Department of STEM Education faculty are collaborating with faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Georgia State University, and Rowan University on the $1.5 million NSF grant, with $821,000 of the funding coming to UK.
Preparing teachers to create equitable mathematics classrooms is an ongoing challenge for teacher education, said Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., lead principal investigator of the NSF grant and professor and chair in the UK College of Education Department of STEM Education.
“There are students not being reached, sometimes because the structures we have in place send signals that this thing called ‘math’ really isn’t for you, and we want to push against those narratives. We lose so much talent, brain power and creativity by shutting certain doors,” Thomas said.
The research team will help pre-service elementary teachers develop responsive teaching practices around equity, with a focus on issues such as power achievement, identity, positioning , and how cultures and histories weave into mathematics.
“This can include helping pre-service teachers think about whose voices are being elevated in their classrooms and whether some voices are getting sidelined,” Thomas said. “We need to help pre-service teachers find ways to drill into that and think about how to elevate different voices.”
The team’s prior research has focused on helping pre-service elementary teachers learn to take notice of clues within students’ reactions during lessons and develop their responses accordingly — a concept known as “noticing.” In this project, the researchers will focus on ways teachers can use noticing to cultivate children’s strengths and identities as mathematics learners.
Read the full article on the University of Kentucky’s website.