Critical Mathematical Agency in the Overcrowding at Francis Middle School Project

Erin E. Turner

in Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Schools

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780226037974
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226037998 | DOI:
Critical Mathematical Agency in the Overcrowding at Francis Middle School Project

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Critical reflections about disparities in the space and resources allotted to different schools prompted an extended mathematical investigation of overcrowding at Francis. The project provided ongoing opportunities for students to critically reflect on conditions at their school, to use math to better understand and argue against the overcrowding, and to collectively work toward change. Comparing data from Francis with data from Longmore was a central part of many students' analyses. This chapter highlights how students participated in ways that evidenced a sense of critical mathematical agency, and discusses aspects of Ms. Font's pedagogy that seemed to foster students' agency, and the potential impact of agency-enhancing learning environments on students' mathematical learning and identities. In the Overcrowding at Francis Middle School project, students enacted critical mathematical agency through acts of authoring as they contributed (authored) their own unique perspectives about overcrowding at their school, and as they imagined (authored) more just and equitable ways to allocate the school space, among others.

Keywords: overcrowding; critical mathematical agency; Francis; mathematical learning; school space

Chapter.  9918 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Schools Studies

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