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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Independent School Mathematics for Black and Latina Girls
by Lassey, Karen C, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2020, 307; 27834229
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study explores the experiences of Black and Latina girls in dialogic, student-centered independent school math classrooms. The goal was to better understand the students’ experiences and the relationships between pedagogy, performance, and their social and math identities. Research suggests that under-represented students of color and girls may be facing disproportionate opportunities and obstacles in schools and later in mathematics-related fields. Student-centered, dialogic, and transformative pedagogies may mediate negative outcomes; but more research is needed about students of color who are living and learning in what might be considered to be ideal, highly-resourced school environments. This case-study design included classroom observation, student interviews, teacher narratives, and contextual school-generated data for six participants at a 9–12 boarding school in New England, all of whom had met ambitious selection criteria through strong academic performance and demonstrated academic motivation. Analysis revealed varied individual experiences, performance, and perceptions and beliefs about mathematics among participants. Despite variations across different teachers and class compositions, participants valued the dialogic pedagogical practices and constructivist math curriculum as conducive to their learning. In particular, participant perceptions reflected pedagogical practices that supported a generative spiral of learning that included persistence through challenges, affirmation from teachers and peers, and confidence to take on the next challenge. For the Black and Latina girls in my study, this affirmation-confidence-persistence (ACP) growth spiral could be significantly disrupted by negative classroom dynamics or identity-based stereotypes and threats. Participants mitigated negative effects by developing strategies, skills, and resilience, for responding to identity contingencies. Findings also emphasized the potential for teacher and peer relationships to promote participant engagement and shape attitudes about mathematics, further impacting the ACP spiral.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Remillard, Janine
Commitee: Jacobs, Charlotte, Nabors Oláh, Leslie
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, Secondary education, Pedagogy, Multicultural Education, Gender studies
Keywords: Ethnicity, Gender, Independent schools, Mathematics, Pedagogy, Race
Publication Number: 27834229
ISBN: 9798662384996
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