Equity, mathematics and classroom practice: Developing rich mathematical experiences for disadvantaged students
Processes of exclusion operate to disadvantage students along social class, race and gender lines. For students from backgrounds that are not part of the success regime, significant scaffolding by teachers is needed if they are to be successful. In this paper we discuss two key factors that shape the learning environments for learning mathematics. First, the expectations teachers (and students) have of learners of mathematics significantly shape the experiences that will be provided for learners. The other significant factor is the discourse of 'ability' that permeates mathematics more than any other curriculum area. Learners are frequently described (and inscribed) as having some abilities (or not having them) that predispose them to success in mathematics. This notion is treated as unproblematic and is seen as the reason why some students are more likely to be successful (or not) in their study of mathematics. While recognising the potential of individual differences within any group, in the second section of this paper we propose a number of features of a more inclusive pedagogy that we believe will work toward more equitable outcomes for all students.
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom