From Community Exploration to Social Justice Mathematics: How Do Mathematics Teacher Educators Guide Prospective Teachers to Make the Move?

  • María del Rosario ZavalaEmail author
  • Kathleen Jablon Stoehr


Prospective elementary teachers (PSTs) often bring commitments to social justice to their teacher education programs but may not always know how to act on those commitments in the context of teaching mathematics. In this chapter, we analyze PSTs’ Community Mathematics Exploration Module activities (n = 23) to better understand how PSTs bring forth ideas of social justice into mathematics tasks that have strong connections to students’ communities, as well as reflect on how to support PSTs to move toward designing socially just mathematics tasks firmly rooted in community issues. Our analysis shows that while only 6 mathematics tasks had strong social justice components, 11 had strong community connections with the potential to “pivot” toward social justice by, for example, shifting the purpose of the mathematics involved without changing the context. This finding suggests that mathematics teacher educators can support PSTs to rethink and rewrite mathematics tasks building on students’ community knowledge with explicit social justice goals as part of their mathematics methods course completion. We conclude the chapter by framing some challenges for mathematics teacher educators to consider and address around making mathematically rich and socially just mathematics tasks.


Elementary education Mathematics education Social justice Teacher learning Teacher education Mathematizing Bilingual 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • María del Rosario Zavala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathleen Jablon Stoehr
    • 2
  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Santa Clara UniversitySanta ClaraUSA

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