ASSESSING PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS' KNOWLEDGE OF AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS INCORPORATING SOCIAL JUSTICE EDUCATION IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MATHEMATICS CLASSES
McCoy, Wanda Linnette
Clark, Lawrence M
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Over the past three decades, there has been growing interest in teaching mathematics in ways that encourage action for social justice. Social Justice Education (SJE) seeks to enable students to study existing forms of social injustices in their lives and to create a sense of social agency in the students. This study sought to understand the attitudes and beliefs of pre-service teachers about principles and examples of mathematics teaching from a social justice perspective. Participants consisted of 148 students at four universities. Participants completed a 49-item Likert-type survey to ascertain attitudes of pre-service teachers toward five descriptions of mathematics lessons that employed a social justice perspective. Statistical analyses compared the responses of the participants grouped by demographic variables of race, age, socio-economic status, and teacher preparation experiences. Findings indicate that significant differences on survey outcomes between participants were associated with key preparation experiences, such as whether or not participants had taken mathematics methods courses and diversity courses, as well as the type of university attended. Ten participants subsequently took part in one-on-one audio-taped, semi-structured interviews designed to ascertain the type of circumstances and lived experiences that shaped their attitudes toward teaching mathematics with a social justice perspective. The interviews provided some explanations as to why particular attitudes and beliefs were expressed.