The Complexities of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: A Case Study of Two Secondary Mathematics Teachers and Their ESOL Students
- The High School Journal
- The University of North Carolina Press
- Volume 93, Number 1, November-December 2009
- pp. 3-22
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- Additional Information
Culturally relevant pedagogy is not well understood as an instructional strategy in the mathematics classroom. This study reveals the challenges two teachers faced when they implemented a pilot project with ninth and tenth grade ESOL students. The task they envisioned as culturally relevant did not capture their ESOL students’ interests; rather, it caused both teachers and students to wrestle with tensions around cultural relevance. The major finding of this study is teachers’ beliefs and identities are complicated with CRP. Specifically, it changed two teachers’ beliefs about teaching mathematics and their role in the mathematics classroom. It also informed the teacher-researcher about the needs of teachers prior to implementing CRP. Although the task allowed ESOL students to acquire specific knowledge and to develop critical consciousness, it did little to enhance their cultural competence. Understanding the nuances of CRP will help teachers to better operationalize it (Morrison, Robbins, & Rose, 2008).