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: Designing for Tensions through a Critical Participatory Approach to Teacher Noticing (Paper)
Session: Critical Participatory and Multisensory Approaches in Mathematics Teaching Noticing
Authors: Victoria Hand, Elizabeth van Es, Elizabeth Mendoza
Abstract: Mathematics education research has focused on the improvement of instructional practices through teacher professional development or teacher action research. While these approaches have been successful at supporting teachers in making research-based practices meaningful and relevant in their everyday classroom instruction, they have largely missed the voices of marginalized communities for whom inequitable mathematical instruction is most consequential (Bullock, 2012). In addition, these approaches often begin with understandings of what counts as mathematics and what it takes to learn mathematics, which can reify colonial and racist systems (Moll, 1998; Patel, 2015).
There is a growing cadre of researchers in teacher education who call for teacher learning and educational reform organized around participatory approaches that involve members of communities directly in the research and teaching process (Bang, et al, 2016; Fine, 2018; Zeichner, Payne & Brakyo, 2015). We argue that teacher education can be re-imagined from this participatory approach that espouses epistemologies that are collaborative, and make visible and honor forms of knowing that are lived within and valued by communities (Fine, 2017; Cammarota, 2007; Gutiérrez, 2008).
However, designing toward the inclusion of critical and expansive perspectives, and the explicit acknowledgement of social and racial hierarchies within, at times, rigid boundaries in mathematics education, and schooling more broadly, does not happen without tensions. Following Fine (2018) we attempted to “reflect on our internal dynamics of power...on how we navigate the “choques”/conflicts (Anzaldúa, 1987; Torre & Ayala, 2009) that plague projects launched across dangerous power lines within the research team, funders, and policymakers” (p. 78). In this paper, we explore tensions as a productive catalyst for change (Anzaldúa, 1987; Engestrom 2001; Gutiérrez & Jurow, 2016) and as a site for new understandings and meanings in mathematics education.
Through a preliminary analysis of research team meeting notes, meeting audio and video recordings, reflections from research group planning meetings, and reflections from participants at the Summer Institute we identified three tensions that we will take up in this session. The first tension is related to the negotiation of positionalities, and intersections therein, of research team members. Each team member brought expertise, histories, and epistemological commitments towards the noticing research, which we grappled with in the context of an NSF-funded framework. The second tension involved navigating the collective process of PAR. This included, for example, how to include teachers’ perspectives on field notes and observations of teaching, and how to engage research participants early in the process in co-analysis and co-design of noticing frameworks. The last tension is related to the positioning of the different communities—including researchers, teachers, and community members—and how these roles are identified, taken up and negotiated in the evolution of the participatory activity.
Too often the messiness of the design process is under discussed in research. We report these tensions as a way to more deeply understanding our noticing, and how we conceptualize power dynamics throughout the process of design, and not simply as an outcome.