"Noticing the Past in the Present: Investigating the Role of Histories in Framing Noticing Practices"
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Title: Noticing the Past in the Present: Investigating the Role of Histories in Framing Noticing Practices (Paper)
Session: Critical Participatory and Multisensory Approaches in Mathematics Teacher Noticing
Authors: Monica Gilmore, Jennifer Renick, Khamia Powell, Elizabeth van Es
Abstract: Teacher noticing has gained increased attention because it captures teachers’ in-the-moment decision making as it intersects with teachers’ instruction (Author, 2002; Erickson, 2011). Researchers have found that teachers who are disposed to advance equity engage in noticing practices that center student positioning, power structures, and status hierarchies that influence interactions and opportunities within mathematics classrooms (Author, 2012; Louie, 2018; Turner et al., 2013; Wager, 2014). However, the research on noticing has yet to unravel the complexity of personal narratives and historical contexts as factors that influence teacher noticing in classrooms. In this paper, we consider how lived experiences and histories influence noticing, thus having the potential to advance more equitable teaching and practice. This paper aims to develop and provide empirical evidence to support this theory.
We conducted interviews with teachers and community youth leaders to inquire about their interpretations of noticing and its impact on equity. With the teachers, we also conducted observations and interviews to learn about the relationship between their noticing and instructional practice. Finally, we designed a Summer Institute that brought all participants together to develop a shared language around issues of equity in mathematics education and noticing. Interviews and meetings were audio and videotaped. We conducted qualitative analyses of the data to examine how personal experiences and historical contexts shaped and constrained participants’ noticing practices. In the preliminary coding of transcribed interviews and meetings, we looked for thematic differences and commonalities in their noticing and practice.
Preliminary analysis revealed two important findings. One is that noticing practices are closely tied to the teachers and community leaders’ personal histories. These lived histories include: familial, spatial, community, racial and language experiences-which influence what they notice, how they notice, and their interpretation of these interactions within classrooms and communities. There was striking variation among teachers and community leaders in terms of their noticing practices, largely informed by their participation (or lack thereof) within different communities. Additionally, their awareness of historical events has the propensity to inform or limit teacher noticing which inherently shapes stereotypes and perceptions of different communities. It seemed to be the consensus that history is not simply a relic of the past, but in fact historical narratives are intricately woven into the foundations of modern day institutions and interactions.
Findings from this study contribute to recent research and expands the construct of teacher noticing to account not only for commonalities in noticing (Author, 2009) but also differences. Acknowledging these differences can inform and shape noticing practices, subsequently expanding our noticing beyond that which is solely grounded in personal experiences. Continued direction of this work points to a focus on integrating these personal narratives and histories of teachers and students within the context of noticing. We assert that this ultimately empowers teachers to be more cognizant of their lived experiences and histories and how that influences their noticing, in relation to how they position students and the opportunities afforded to them within classrooms.