Math Links: Building Learning Communities in Urban Settings

Jacqueline Leonard, Brian R. Evans

Abstract


Learning mathematics in urban settings is often routine and decontextualized rather than inquiry- and culturally-based. Changing prospective teachers attitudes about pedagogy in order to change this pattern is often tenuous. The purpose of this pilot study was to provide opportunities for teacher interns enrolled in a graduate certification program to interact with urban students in a community-based program called Math Links. Twelve interns completed 30 hours of fieldwork at church-based sites. Prior to fieldwork, the interns participated in a 3-hour professional development and education session, in addition to their education courses. Three interns work with urban children and youth reveal that community-based experiences changed their attitudes about practice and their capacity to teach urban children mathematics in culturally sensitive ways. One in-depth case study of an Asian teacher reveals not only changes in her attitudes and beliefs about urban students but also changes in her pedagogy as she shifted from teaching by telling to guided inquiry.

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Illuminating Urban Excellence