by Daniel Chazan, Andrew Brantlinger, Lawrence M. Clark & Ann R. EdwardsThis article outlines the research questions that organize the two cases that are at the heart of this special issue, introduces the theoretical perspectives behind the project from which the cases are drawn, and describes the selection procedures for the data corpus from which the articles in the issue were developed. It also explains the interrelationships among the six pieces in the issue. In doing so, the article problematizes contemporary discourse about urban education and presents an argument for what might be learned from the practices of well-respected African American teachers of high school mathematics in large, nonselective urban schools.
by Whitney Johnson, Farhaana Nyamekye, Daniel Chazan & Bill RosenthalThis article focuses on a well-respected young Black male algebra teacher in an urban high school whose practice differs from that of many of his colleagues in one regular feature of classroom interaction, what the authors have come to call “speeches.” This article lays out examples of the speeches and, using themes from the literature on culturally relevant classroom management, illustrates how these themes are regularly present throughout the speeches and capture the stance this teacher takes in his interactions with students. The cultural resources that this young teacher brings to his practice challenge educational researchers to conceptualize the role of such resources in teaching and teacher educators to consider the recruitment of teachers who have such resources, as well as how to teach prospective teachers to develop and utilize such resources in their teaching.
by Geoffrey D. Birky, Daniel Chazan & Kellyn Farlow MorrisThis article offers a case study of the practice of one well-respected African American algebra teacher in an urban high school. This teacher’s practice differs from that of many of her colleagues in its departure from the pacing and order of the district curriculum guide in search of an experience of coherence and meaning for her students. The article explores her reasons for making such decisions and the beliefs and knowledge that allow her to do so; some of her beliefs and motives seem to be rooted in her own experiences as an African American student, experiences that serve as a resource in her teaching.
by Lawrence M. Clark, Eden M. Badertscher & Carolina NappThis article explores the work of two African American mathematics teachers, Madison Morgan and Floyd Lee, for the purposes of illuminating our collective understanding of the resources and perspectives African American teachers may access in the context of the teaching and learning of mathematics. Through the use of dimensions of students’ mathematics identity development and teachers’ socialization practices as analytic frames, we present an analysis of aspects of the two teachers’ perspectives on teaching mathematics and classroom practices and discuss considerations when approaching conducting research on interactions between African American mathematics teachers and their African American students. We conclude this article with a framework through which we might consider the work of all mathematics teachers as they engage in the work of socializing their students toward (or away from) seeing themselves as competent, capable mathematics learners.
by Lawrence M. Clark, Toya Jones Frank & Julius DavisCalls to increase the number of minority teachers in U.S. schools are plentiful, yet the basis for these calls is underspecified and undertheorized. In an effort to better understand the role of race and context in teacher–student interactions, this article considers the African American mathematics teacher as both historical figure and conceptual construct. The authors discuss the importance of examining the role, responsibilities, and work of African American teachers in an academic domain-specific context, namely mathematics. After a brief overview of what the literature reports African American teachers in general bring to their practice, the authors examine and discuss intersections of intertwining historical timelines for the purposes of raising questions about the role and responsibilities of African American mathematics teachers across time. The article concludes with a challenge for researchers to interrogate, challenge, critique, and build on conceptualizations of the African American mathematics teacher as an entity that represents a unique confluence of experiences, perspectives, dispositions, and knowledge domains critical to the education of all students.
by Paul Cobb & Kara JacksonIn this commentary, we discuss the lessons we learned from case studies of two African American mathematics teachers, thereby endorsing the claim made by the contributors to this special issue that the insights they gained are not restricted to mathematics teaching in nonselective urban schools but can also inform the field more generally. We then focus on differences in the two teachers’ goals for students’ mathematical learning and clarify that they were consequential and constrained the types of purposes that the teachers could convey to their students for engaging in mathematical activity. We go on to argue that high expectations for all students’ learning are not by themselves sufficient for their development of mathematical proficiency and discuss the importance of supporting teachers’ development of specific instructional practices that enable their students to meet those expectations. Finally, we suggest that it is critical to situate the ways in which teachers draw on their cultural resources with respect to the school and district settings in which they work and in which they refine and elaborate their instructional practices.