PREMA Yvette Solomon

PREMA Yvette Solomon - Developinggenderedidentitiesof

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Developing gendered identities of  exclusion and inclusion in mathematics Yvette Solomon Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, UK [email protected]
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The issue Mathematics is associated with strong emotions but these are not necessarily related to levels of success in the subject (eg undergraduate women - Solomon, 2007). There are important elements in the classroom community of practice which contribute to this range of relationships and the development of identities of participation for some learners but not for others (Solomon, forthcoming). Identity is part of a complex web of cultural influences and institutional structures in which teachers and pupils interact in the process of constructing particular identities for particular learners. Dominant discourses of gender and ability are visible in the ways in which boys and girls are positioned, and position themselves, in mathematics classrooms.
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“A classroom, and indeed every human community, is an individual at its own scale of organization. It has a unique historical trajectory, a unique development through time. But like every such individual on every scale, it is also in some respects typical of its kind. That typicality reflects its participation in still larger- scale, longer-term, more slowly changing processes that shape not only its development but also that of others of its type.” (Lemke, 2000 p. 278) Lemke asks: ‘how do moments become lives?’ – I will ask: ‘how do mathematical moments become mathematical lives? Emergent social groupings and the  interaction between short- and long-term  processes 
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Interaction patterns and beliefs in  classrooms are important  Girls and boys appear to participate differently in classroom discussions because they are taking up, negotiating and maintaining those positions which are open to them within the context of pedagogic discursive practice. As Gee (2001) points out, some of the available discourses are more accessible and ‘culturally appropriate’ than others. The discourses and practice of mathematics include and endorse some powerful beliefs about: the nature of ability the supposed inherent difficulty of mathematics the manifestation of ability to do maths is not merely getting right answers, but getting them quickly and with an apparent lack of effort this is associated with having a natural aptitude for mathematics
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The potential for excluding pedagogies in UK setting  practices: top- and lower- set cultures   Faced with higher ability sets, teachers are more likely to focus on pupil learning and involvement with the subject, and to engage in between-equals banter, particularly with the middle class male subset who ‘belong there naturally’ (Bartholomew, 1999) Adverse effects on low ability group students: less discussion and more boardwork a reduced curriculum a ‘polarized curriculum’ which limits exposure to mathematics
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course MATH 112 taught by Professor Jarvis during the Winter '08 term at BYU.

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PREMA Yvette Solomon - Developinggenderedidentitiesof

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