, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 1005–1016 | Cite as

Learning to teach the M in/for STEM for social justice

  • Cynthia NicolEmail author
  • Leicha A. Bragg
  • Vanessa Radzimski
  • Kwesi Yaro
  • Arthur Chen
  • Emmanuel Amoah
Original Article


Issues of global and local importance such as climate change and homelessness require critical perspectives across multiple disciplines including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Our paper brings critical mathematics education and social justice alongside STEM education to explore experiences of learning to teach. We focus specifically on learning to teach through creating mathematics problems in/for STEM and social justice. As a collaborative research group we are from five countries with varied cultural backgrounds, teaching experiences, and academic pathways. Dialogue as method is used to examine experiences of creating problems through which students can interpret and transform the world. Data collected included 46 h of audio-recorded dialogue meetings, 26 developed problems, and 7 interviews with 12 students. Results indicate creating mathematics problems in/for STEM involved navigating between mathematics, social justice, and STEM across all education levels and is supported with critical dialogue across cultural perspectives, diverse experiences, and expertise. Challenges lived include questioning the content of mathematics and STEM, deepening our own expertise to draw upon local and global problem contexts, and interrogating who benefits from such problems. Our study highlights the need for continued collaborative dialogue that not only gathers educators across disciplines but also includes students as co-creators of mathematics problems that could change their relationship with the world.


Critical mathematics education Social justice mathematics education Social justice pedagogy STEM Twenty-first century skills Mathematics education 



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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Deakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of the Fraser ValleyAbbotsfordCanada

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