This paper responds to the burgeoning literature on mathematics teacher noticing, arguing that its cognitive orientation misses the cultural and ideological dimensions of what and how teachers notice. The author highlights Goodwin’s concept of professional vision as a way of bringing analyses of culture and power into studies of teacher noticing. The case of a high school algebra teacher who learned to notice the mathematical strengths of students from marginalized groups is used to illustrate how this might be done. The teacher’s noticing involved not only cognitive processes like attending to, interpreting, and deciding how to respond to students’ thinking, but also managing dominant ideologies that position students—especially students from non-dominant communities—as mathematically deficient rather than as sense-makers whose ideas should form the basis for further learning. The paper advances the field’s capacity for understanding the challenges that teachers face as they attempt to notice in ways that are ambitious as well as equitable.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
I observed seven of Amanda’s Algebra lessons over the course of one academic year, making audio recordings and field notes. We chatted informally during these observations. I also conducted a formal interview with her at the end of the year. All teacher and student names are pseudonyms.
Although some argue that “smartness” is part and parcel of an inescapably hierarchical and oppressive ideology (e.g., Leonardo & Broderick, 2011), CI educators use the term “smart” because the same cultural baggage that makes this construct problematic also makes it powerful for children to hear that this is what they are.
Goodwin’s analysis focuses on the first trial, in which all of the officers were acquitted. Two were convicted on appeal.
Alsawaie, O. N., & Alghazo, I. M. (2010). The effect of video-based approach on prospective teachers’ ability to analyze mathematics teaching. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13(3), 223–241.
Baldinger, E. M., Jilk, L. M., & Louie, N. (2015). Re-culturing a school district for equity and de-tracking in mathematics: A (tenuously) successful program. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Psychology of Mathematics Education - North American chapter, East Lansing, MI.
Ball, D. (2011). Forward. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. xx-xxiv). New York: Routledge.
Boaler, J., & Staples, M. (2008). Creating mathematical futures through an equitable mathematics approach: The case of Railside School. Teachers College Record, 110(3), 608–645.
Bonilla-Silva, E. (2006). Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, Inc.
Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Brown, J. (1992). The definition of a profession: The authority of metaphor in the history of intelligence testing, 1890–1930. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Chao, T., Murray, E., & Gutiérrez, R. (2014). What are classroom practices that support equity-based mathematics teaching? (Research brief). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Cohen, E. G., & Lotan, R. A. (2014). Designing groupwork: Strategies for the heterogeneous classroom (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.
Fernández, C., Llinares, S., & Valls, J. (2012). Learning to notice students’ mathematical thinking through on-line discussions. ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 44(6), 747–759.
Goldsmith, L. T., & Seago, N. (2011). Using classroom artifacts to focus teachers’ noticing: Affordances and opportunities. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 169–187). New York: Routledge.
Goleman, D. (1985). Vital lies, simple truths: The psychology of self-deception. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Goodwin, C. (1994). Professional vision. American Anthropologist, 96(3), 606–633.
Hand, V. (2012). Seeing culture and power in mathematical learning: Toward a model of equitable instruction. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 80(1–2), 233–247.
Hand, V., Penuel, W., & Gutiérrez, K. (2012). (Re)framing educational possibility: Attending to power and equity in shaping access to and within learning opportunities. Human Development, 55(5), 250–268.
Haney López, I. F. (1996). White by law: The legal construction of race. New York: New York University Press.
Jacobs, V. R., Lamb, L. L. C., & Philipp, R. A. (2010). Professional noticing of children’s mathematical thinking. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 41(2), 169–202.
Jilk, L. M. (2016). Supporting teacher noticing of students’ mathematical strengths. Mathematics Teacher Educator, 4(2), 188–199.
Lampert, M., Beasley, H., Ghosseini, H., Kazemi, E., & Franke, M. (2010). Using designed instructional activities to enable novices to manage ambitious mathematics teaching. In M. K. Stein & L. Kucan (Eds.), Instructional explanations in the disciplines. New York: Springer.
Lefstein, A., & Snell, J. (2011). Professional vision and the politics of teacher learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 505–514.
Leonardo, Z., & Broderick, A. A. (2011). Smartness as property: A critical exploration of intersections between Whiteness and Disability Studies. Teachers College Record, 113(10), 2206–2232.
Lerman, S., & Davis, B. (Eds.). (2009). Mathematical action and structures of noticing: Studies on John Mason’s contribution to mathematics education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Louie, N. (2016). Tensions in equity- and reform-oriented learning in teachers’ collaborative conversations. Teaching and Teacher Education, 53(1), 10–19.
Louie, N. (2017). Supporting teachers’ equity-oriented learning and identities: A resource-centered perspective. Teachers College Record, 119(5).
Martin, D. B. (2009). Researching race in mathematics education. Teachers College Record, 111(2), 295–338.
Mason, J. (2002). Researching your own practice: the discipline of noticing. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Mason, J. (2011). Noticing: Roots and branches. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 35–50). New York: Routledge.
Nasir, N. S., Cabana, C., Shreve, B., Woodbury, E., & Louie, N. (Eds.). (2014). Mathematics for equity: A framework for successful practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Oakes, J., Ormseth, T., Bell, R., & Camp, P. (1990). Multiplying inequalities: The effects of race, social class, and tracking on opportunities to learn mathematics and science. Santa Monica, CA: The RAND Corporation.
Oakes, J., Wells, A. S., Jones, M., & Datnow, A. (1997). Detracking: the social construction of ability, cultural politics, and resistance to reform. Teachers College Record, 98(3), 482–510.
Pollock, M. (2004). Colormute: Race talk dilemmas in an American school. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Ruthven, K. (1987). Ability stereotyping in mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 18, 243–253.
Santagata, R. (2011). From teacher noticing to a framework for analyzing and improving classroom lessons. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 152–168). New York: Routledge.
Santagata, R., Zannoni, C., & Stigler, J. (2007). The role of lesson analysis in pre-service teacher education: An empirical investigation of teacher learning from a virtual video-based field experience. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 10, 123–140.
Seidel, T., & Stürmer, K. (2014). Modeling and measuring the structure of professional vision in preservice teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 51(4), 739–771.
Shah, N. (2017). Race, ideology, and academic ability: A relational analysis of racial narratives in mathematics. Teachers College Record, 119(7).
Sherin, B., & Star, J. (2011). Reflections on the study of teacher noticing. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 66–78). New York: Routledge.
Sherin, M. G. (2001). Developing a professional vision of classroom events. In T. Wood, B. S. Nelson, & J. Warfield (Eds.), Beyond classical pedagogy (pp. 75–93). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sherin, M. G. (2007). The development of teachers’ professional vision in video clubs. In R. Goldman, R. Pea, B. Barron, & S. Derry (Eds.), Video research in the learning sciences (pp. 383–395). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Sherin, M. G., & van Es., E. A. (2009). Effects of video club participation on teachers' professional vision. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 20–37.
Sherin, M. G., Russ, R. S., & Colestock, A. A. (2011). Accessing mathematics teachers’ in-the-moment noticing. In M. G. Sherin, V. R. Jacobs, & R. A. Philipp (Eds.), Mathematics teacher noticing: Seeing through teachers’ eyes (pp. 79–94). New York: Routledge.
Sternberg, R. J. (2007). Who are the bright children? The cultural context of being and acting intelligent. Educational Researcher, 36(3), 148–155.
Stevens, R., & Hall, R. (1998). Disciplined perception: Learning to see in technoscience. In M. Lampert & M. L. Blunk (Eds.), Talking mathematics in school: Studies of teaching and learning (pp. 107–150). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stigler, J., & Hiebert, J. (2009). The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving education in the classroom (1st trade paperback ed.). New York: Free Press.
Turner, E., Drake, C., Roth McDuffie, A., Aguirre, J., Bartell, T. G., & Foote, M. Q. (2012). Promoting equity in mathematics teacher preparation: A framework for advancing teacher learning of children’s multiple mathematics knowledge bases. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 15(1), 67–82.
van Es, E. A., & Sherin, M. G. (2002). Learning to notice: Scaffolding new teachers’ interpretations of classroom interactions. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 10(4), 571–596.
van Es, E. A., & Sherin, M. G. (2008). Mathematics teachers’ “learning to notice” in the context of a video club. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 244–276.
Wager, A. A. (2014). Noticing children’s participation: Insights into teacher positionality toward equitable mathematics pedagogy. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 45(3), 312–350.
The author wishes to thank Evra Baldinger, José Gutiérrez, Aditya Adiredja, Kimberly Seashore, and attendees and organizers of the 2016 Service, Teaching, and Research (STaR) Institute sponsored by the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) for their support in developing the ideas herein. She is also deeply grateful to the educators whose work is described in this paper, especially “Amanda.” The work presented here does not necessarily reflect the views of any of the aforementioned parties.
About this article
Cite this article
Louie, N.L. Culture and ideology in mathematics teacher noticing. Educ Stud Math 97, 55–69 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-017-9775-2
- Teacher learning
- Teacher noticing