Exploring the Narratively-Constructed Mathematical Identities of Latina Bilingual Middle School Students
AuthorKaplan, Suzanne Elizabeth
English Language Learners
Language, Reading & Culture
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis project involved exploring the mathematics stories of three, first-generation adolescent fluent English proficient (FEP) seventh grade Latina students who attended an urban middle school in Arizona. In this study, I also explored the mathematics stories of one primary caregiver for each student as and that of their mathematics teacher. My goal for this project was to understand the factors that attributed to the formation of the young girls' mathematics identities and how these identities informed their decisions to engage with mathematical activity. Through relationships and experiences with their peers, teachers, family, and community, students come to know who they are relative to mathematics. My study addressed the construct of identity, drawn from Sfard and Prusak's (2005) framework of narrative identity, as a way to view students as they developed as mathematics learners. The findings illuminated important classroom experiences, how they made sense of these experiences, and how they took up and rejected opportunities to engage with mathematics because of those experiences. They also illuminated how their relationships with their primary caregivers and mathematics teachers influenced their level of classroom mathematics engagement and the development of their actual and designated mathematics identities. The findings further revealed a relationship between students' immediate future identities and actual identities. Examining middle school students' immediate future mathematics identities provides a more complex and nuanced understanding of how young adolescents make sense of their classroom mathematics experiences. My study showed that the mathematics identities students created were highly influenced by the messages they perceived were narrated by their primary caregivers and their mathematics teachers. Students used their relationships with these individuals as a way to read their mathematics classrooms and make decisions regarding their level of engagement with mathematical activity. They were constantly translating caregiver and teacher messages about mathematics, teacher moves, instructional environments, and social norms for participation and learning through the lenses of their mathematics identities. This study supports understanding of why students with similar social backgrounds, equal instructional mathematics environments and the same mathematics teacher developed different mathematics identities and affiliations with mathematics.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture