Student agency and counter-narratives in diverse multilingual mathematics classrooms: challenging deficit perspectives. (English)

Barwell, Richard (ed.) et al., Mathematics education and language diversity. The 21st ICMI study. Cham: Springer (ISBN 978-3-319-14510-5/hbk; 978-3-319-14511-2/ebook). New ICMI Study Series, 163-173 (2016).

Summary: Mathematics classrooms around the world serve students who are learning the dominant language of instruction. These students’ forms of participation in mathematical activity have often been examined from deficit perspectives. Mathematics education research is in great need of counter-narratives to such prevailing deficit assumptions so that we can see how such learners productively use existing resources to engage in mathematics. In this chapter we examine potentially fruitful ways of framing identity and learning centered on student agency that can be brought to bear on the analysis of emergent multilinguals’ mathematical activity. We then illustrate the utility of agency-centered framings with vignettes of student interactions that focus on how emergent bilinguals used multiple linguistic resources in powerful ways. The vignettes are drawn from a variety of international mathematics classroom contexts and focus on students as creative users of linguistic resources in ways that serve a variety of functions during mathematical activity.