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 article includes an original artwork using geometry. Art such as this can foster understanding and appreciation of fundamental concepts across fields.
This poem starts with the question in the trunk of the tree, where we imagine that we are deciding to do or not to do something. Each level represents steps in making the decision, with the top indicating a resolution in the future. Phrases wander and change direction, leading to different results. How many paths to a resolution do you see?