My grad school advisor keeps telling me that I need to write more about my thoughts and observations in the classroom for my action research project. I figure I might as well multi-task here and just blog about my research along the way.

We are now a month into the new school year, but I collected some data from them during the first week that I never had time to analyze and write about. There are some interesting (but not all that surprising) things that I found. First, I gave them a journal prompt that asked:

We are now a month into the new school year, but I collected some data from them during the first week that I never had time to analyze and write about. There are some interesting (but not all that surprising) things that I found. First, I gave them a journal prompt that asked:

## In math class, what is the role of the teacher and what is the role of the student?

Of my 72 students, 79% identified the teacher as the authority (status and epistemic), the student as passive recipient, and/or the role of school as knowledge transmission. Here are some of their responses:

## Role of Teacher

*All of the following are pieces of direct quotes from students:*

Grade the work

Impart knowledge on the students

Teach the material

Share their knowledge

Lecture

Explain

Teach clearly

Help solve problems and do them over and over again

Pass on knowledge

Teach math concepts so they are simple and easy to understand

Show examples of a problem

Teach students how to do the assigned work

Give and deliver information

## Role of Student

*All of the following are pieces of direct quotes from students:*

Listen to the teacher

Take all the knowledge the teachers have to offer

Learn from the teacher

Take notes

Do worksheets

Pay attention

Study diligently

Be quiet

Absorb the knowledge

Absorb information

Learns what the teacher teaches

To be honest, this wasn't surprising...but it is alarming. It's alarming because the way in which we teach math inevitably (and implicitly) simultaneously teaches students things about themselves as mathematicians. Here is the evidence (responses from beginning of the year survey):

80% of my students think they can't do a math problem unless I tell them how to do it first...

85% think they need to memorize things...

and about half of them don't think they can create mathematical ideas, formulas, and rules.

All of this is further support that, as I cited in my research proposal (bold added for discussion here):

I'm interested in the idea of agency (mathematical and otherwise). I'm interested in the hidden curriculum in our classes and how it impacts students' definition of math, students' formation of self, the mediation (or perpetuation) of status/race/economic/power issues, and the recognition of their own ways of thinking and being mathematical in the world.

85% think they need to memorize things...

and about half of them don't think they can create mathematical ideas, formulas, and rules.

All of this is further support that, as I cited in my research proposal (bold added for discussion here):

*1. "our classrooms are the primary experiences from which students abstract both their*

2. "Identity is a model for self-direction and, as a result, a possibility for mediating agency (Holland et al., 1998). Many students have established their identity as**definition of mathematics**(Schoenfeld, 1994) and**their sense of self as an active participant in the authoring of mathematics**(Lawler, 2010)."2. "Identity is a model for self-direction and, as a result, a possibility for mediating agency (Holland et al., 1998). Many students have established their identity as

**receivers of knowledge**, with**no active role in creating or critiquing mathematical claims**. As a result, their sense of agency is surrendered. Research supports the view that such environments cause students to surrender their sense of thought and agency in order to comply with the procedural routines outlined by the teacher/authority figure (Boaler, 2000). Signs of this include negative attitudes towards math, lack of connected knowing, and**the belief that mathematics is absorbed rather than created**."I'm interested in the idea of agency (mathematical and otherwise). I'm interested in the hidden curriculum in our classes and how it impacts students' definition of math, students' formation of self, the mediation (or perpetuation) of status/race/economic/power issues, and the recognition of their own ways of thinking and being mathematical in the world.