PhD student Priyanka Agarwal has been awarded a 2018 President's Dissertation Year (PDY) Fellowship to continue her study of students' mathematics engagement: "[Re]imagining Student Mathematical Engagement through Problem Posing Pedagogy."
Equity in mathematics education rests on the belief that all students can learn and must be given rich and rigorous opportunities to do so. Unfortunately, structural practices and beliefs about how low-income students of color learn, shape a directive and controlling culture of pedagogy where learners have little or no agency over their learning. In contrast, facilitation of student authority and questioning describes pedagogy of success; a particular manifestation of which lies in problem-posing pedagogy (as against just problem-solving). Although processes of mathematical problem solving and rigor of mathematical tasks have received much attention in research, the role of doubts, and therefore the role of problem posing is still underrated in the work of math learners in schools. Thus, my research using a researcher-practitioner partnership model has developed and implemented math instructional lessons, centered on problem-posing, in a predominantly working class Hispanic and Latina/o neighborhood middle-school. As such, the study has two major goals: (1) understanding the challenges and affordances of establishing problem posing as a central feature of classroom instruction, and (2) identifying the ways in which problem posing promotes student engagement and achievement. Research data, primarily qualitative, include video-recordings, field-notes, teacher and student interviews, reflections, assessments, and other classroom artifacts. The findings will serve to provide preliminary ideas of problem-posing pedagogy’s potential to challenge the deeply-rooted discourse of poverty and deficits in education.
President's Dissertation Year Fellowships "are intended for students in their final year of graduate study who are planning to pursue teaching and research appointments soon after their dissertation fellowship year. This award assists graduate students with the completion of their dissertation, and enhances their qualifications as candidates for university faculty teaching and research appointments by providing professional opportunities needed to successfully obtain a faculty appointment."
Ms. Agarwal is a fifth year PhD in Education student specializing in Learning, Teaching, Cognition, and Development (LTCD). Her research interests include student engagement in mathematics, student dispositions toward mathematics, equity in mathematics education, schools as organizations, and mixed-methods research. She is advised by Associate Professor Rossella Santagata.