Issues of equity in mathematics classrooms existed prior to COVID-19. For many students, however, meaningful participation in mathematical discussions became nearly impossible in online settings during the pandemic. In this study, we note the diversity in and nature of participation in mathematical discourse in an online course for preservice teachers (PSTs). We investigate the influence of implementing two support strategies for discussion: (a) establishing a “rough-draft/revision” orientation to mathematical tasks; and (b) providing time and structure (tasks and prompts) in an online discussion board for PSTs to post their initial thoughts, react to peers’ solutions, and collectively revise their ideas. In this article, we highlight several benefits of these support strategies to equitable PST participation in a unit on number theory. For example, as compared with oral discussions where only a few PSTs offered their ideas, the written discussion format encouraged every PST to post their ideas. Using a rough-draft/revision stance in the prompts fostered sharing and revealed diverse mathematical approaches, perspectives, and ideas. We argue that giving students opportunities to interact with one another and the mathematics in a variety of ways promotes equitable participation.
Margaret Rathouz, Nesrin Cengiz-Phillips, and Angela S. Krebs
This department publishes brief news articles, announcements and guest editorials on current mathematics education issues that stimulate the interest of TCM readers and cause them to think about an issue or consider a specific viewpoint about some aspect of mathematics education. This month, help your teachers plan lessons by coaching them to think about activating students' prior knowledge about content, clearly state the lesson goal, facilitate learning new content, and assess students' learning of the day's work.
As we launch the 2012–2013 academic year, we find ourselves positioned for the natural renewal of focus and energy that often accompany presidential election years. We recognize that in addition to the weak economy, state and national reductions to education resources can create their own challenges to the mathematics education community as we adopt common curriculum standards. More than forty U.S. states are collectively endeavoring to meet the challenge of understanding and implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) with fidelity to both the Content and the Mathematical Practices (CCSSI 2010). Other states and regions we serve are also renewing their commitment to quality mathematics instruction and assessment that meets high standards.