Tracking a student's Changing social positions within a primary mathematics classroom

Year: 2002

Author: Brown, Raymond

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Changing educational demands related to new basic skills, new organisational structures, and a culturally diverse student population have created challenges for teachers and students to engage in more effective pedagogical relationships. A key sociocultural notion underpinning these relationships is community. Increasingly school classrooms are being referred to as Communities of Learners, Communities of Inquiry, and Communities of Practice. Essential to any notion of community is identity. Multiple types of participation and changing forms of membership are fundamental properties of classroom communities and their activities. However, the formation of a new self within a diverse, but inclusive classroom takes time and is difficult to research. This paper describes a year-long case study conducted within a broader Ph.D. research programme. The study describes the journey of a student operating in a collaborative upper-primary mathematics classroom as she moves from a social position of dependence on others to a position where she displays a confidence and a willingness to access ideas and solution processes contained within the cultural resources of the classroom. Student journal writings are analysed in accordance with conditions identified as being conducive to establishing classroom learning communities and implications are drawn regarding the organisation of classrooms that facilitate a shared culture of learning mathematics.