Collaborative Research: Examining the Longitudinal Development of Pre-Service Elementary Teachers’ Equitable Noticing of Children’s Mathematical Thinking

Grants and Contracts Details


Collaborative Research: Noticing, Operationalizing, and Rehumanizing Mathematics (NORM) is proposed to the NSF ECR-CORE program at Level 2 within the Research on STEM Learning and Learning Environments research area. This is a collaborative proposal involving personnel from three institutions, including University of Kentucky (UK-Lead), Georgia State University (GSU), and the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) with a project duration of 4-years. The primary purpose of the proposed project is to develop and study the development of elementary preservice teachers (PSTs) equitable noticing of children’s mathematical thinking over time. This goal will be achieved by the design and implementation of authentic curricular materials and associated experience during the teacher preparation programs and PSTs’ first year of professional practice. Central to this research purpose is the exploration of how PSTs learn to teach mathematics while integrating a sociopolitical lens (Gutierrez, 2013; Gutierrez, 2018), described in more detail in subsequent sections, in their practice over time (e.g., during their course work, student teaching, and in their first year of teaching as in-service teachers). Intellectual Merit This research is consistent with ECR-CORE aim of “generating knowledge and understanding with the potential for broad relevance” and has the potential to contribute to how elementary PSTs learn to develop their professional noticing skills of children’s mathematical thinking (hereafter referred to as professional noticing) in the context of equity (more specifically, a sociopolitical stance towards equity). Further, the nature of this multi-institutional collaboration featuring a primarily white institution and two minority- serving institutions (GSU-AANAPISI, PBI; UTSA-HSI) provides contextual sophistication regarding research design. This goal is highly aligned with the ECR-CORE Research Area (STEM Learning and Learning Environments) aim of advancing “general, explanatory knowledge and understanding about STEM teaching and learning in the many environments and contexts in which such teaching and learning take place.” This project creates a convergence of prominent frameworks for responsive and equitable teaching practice such that equitable mathematics teaching may be better understood with respect to prospective teacher perceptions, interpretations, and responses within the complex landscape of the mathematics classroom. This project builds upon previously funded work (Project M3INE-NSF# 1914810) regarding the extent to which interconnected, innovative microlearning (i.e. short-duration) modules focused on the professional noticing of children’s mathematical thinking within the context of numeracy broadly construed (i.e., arithmetic and algebraic reasoning in the context of whole and rational number) via distinct equity practices and perspectives. In Project M3INE, we developed and tested eight microlearning modules, each with a duration of 15-20 minutes, focused on varied aspects of equitable professional noticing practices in numeracy and algebraic contexts. Preliminary analysis from the M3INE project has begun to show that the microlearning modules were one promising way to advance knowledge and understanding of how teacher educators can facilitate undergraduate PSTs’ development of equitable professional noticing and positive attitudes toward mathematics. Based on the results from M3INE, the new proposal NORM seeks to revise and expand the scope of the microlearning modules to challenge the norm with a more critical framework of rehumanizing mathematics in a sociopolitical stance (Gutierrez, 2013; 2017; 2018).When PSTs learn how to teach through a sociopolitical lens, they can learn to identify, interrupt, and dismantle larger systems of inequalities such as inequitable tracking and grouping students based on deficit orientations of children, families, and communities. A sociopolitical stance pushes PSTs to prioritize the needs and identities of BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people of color) in their classrooms, schools, and communities (Goffney, Gutierrez, & Boston, 2018; Gutierrez, 2017; Louie et al., 2021). Given the content of the proposed instructional modules and the sociopolitical stance as a way to ground the notion of equity in mathematics teacher education, the potential findings from our new project can help mathematics teacher educators to understand how PSTs bring their own identities and experiences to the process of learning to teach. PSTs who develop a professional noticing skill of seeing students’ mathematical strengths and assets through a sociopolitical lens of teaching and learning is not one developed in isolation; PSTs bring their prior experiences and identities to the process of learning to teach. As such, NORM seeks to help the field understand how PSTs develop their sociopolitical professional noticing lens of children’s mathematical thinking based on their own experiences and identities as well as with each other across three institutions in the US (in the form of a community of practice). The anticipated results from NORM can further push the field to consider the nuances of how PSTs can take up sociopolitical notions of teaching mathematics as grounded in their particular community contexts. Lastly, the proposed multifaceted professional noticing measurement suite (i.e. MANE) represents a significant leap with respect to measurement of professional noticing and responsive teaching practices. Most such measurements are situated within a particular context (e.g., video anchor, artifact, etc.) thus limiting the generalizability and connection to the range of contexts in which teachers notice students’ mathematical thinking and activity. Our proposed measurement approach addresses this limitation via multiple and varied anchors/contexts by which participants may enact such noticing. Broader Impacts Building directly upon Project M3INE, which enhanced teacher education programs at the 8 universities and colleges involved in this project and directly impacted 500 preservice teachers across the Commonwealth of Kentucky as well as parts of Ohio, this proposed project seeks to describe and better understand how teacher preparation programs can support PSTs to adopt a specific notion of equity (a sociopolitical stance to rehumanize mathematics, as described by Gutierrez, 2018) that has the potential to create more systemic change in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Learning to teach is complex and needs to happen through multiple experiences over time (Ball, 1988; Grossman, Hammerness, & McDonald, 2009). Learning to teach mathematics while also finding ways to dismantle systems and structures that prevent all children from being successful, especially BIPOC, is even more complex and should happen through more nuanced experiences over time (Felton-Koestler, 2017; Hollins & Guzman, 2005). When early-career teachers enter the workforce with a sociopolitical stance and an interconnected skills set for professional noticing children’s mathematical thinking, there are more opportunities for children to thrive and succeed in mathematics classrooms. Additionally, the proposed project can help teacher preparation programs find an entry point as they seek to revise their curriculum and field experiences towards a more sociopolitical stance. The three participating institutions (Kentucky, Georgia State, and University of Texas at San Antonio) represent a wide variety of demographics of PSTs. GSU is a Minority Serving Institution and UTSA is a Hispanic Serving Institution where a majority of students are first-generation college students. Given the representation in our institutions, we anticipate having a broad impact regarding how our study can inform practices that serve BIPOC PSTs and BIPOC students in the community. This project will directly impact a projected 500 PSTs. We anticipate that if all preservice teachers participating in grant activities teach elementary mathematics to approximately 25 elementary students each year following their graduation, conceivably between 12,500 elementary students will be impacted annually.
Effective start/end date8/15/237/31/27


  • National Science Foundation: $406,865.00


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