Confronting Unproductive Beliefs and Supporting Productive Practices in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom
An excellent mathematics program requires that all students have access to a high-quality mathematics curriculum, effective teaching and learning, high expectations, and the support and resources needed to maximize their learning potential. However, research on teachers’ beliefs and practices suggests that many teachers lack confidence in their abilities to teach African American students effectively. Teachers’ beliefs about teaching African American students are greatly influenced by their perceptions of prior students’ academic performance, socioeconomic status, and race. These beliefs, paired with a low sense of efficacy for teaching African American students, shape teachers’ dispositions about students’ academic ability. As a result, teachers fail to provide students with opportunities to experience effective teaching practices that could lead to a greater understanding of mathematics. In this session, Dr. Ellis will discuss strategies used during her research study to address the negative and unproductive beliefs of mathematics teachers at a school with a high African American, low-income student population which resulted in an increase in productive beliefs and incorporation of teaching practices that supported student learning.