# On the making of a new mathematics teacher: professional development, subjectivation, and resistance to change

- 693 Downloads
- 1 Citations

## Abstract

Reform-based discourses in mathematics education have fabricated different subjectivities for teachers such as the “traditional” and the “new” teacher. Professional development programs are proposed as effective mechanisms to fabricate the “new” teacher. However, this teacher has proved hard to produce. Thus, the “resistor” teacher has emerged into the field as a way to explain failure within school mathematics reform. In this article, I assume that resistance is a consequential response against particular forms of subjectivation imposed on mathematics teachers. Using conceptual tools from Hall and Foucault, I explore the ways wherein a high school mathematics teacher reinvents meanings of being a mathematics teacher in the context of a professional development program aimed to implement problem-solving instruction. Against the myth of the resistor teacher unwilling to change, what emerges is a process of struggle over meaning. School mathematics reform, considered as an ideological event, becomes a site in which competing meanings about being a mathematics teacher are negotiated, contested, and resisted.

## Keywords

Professional development programs Mathematics teacher Resistance Subjectivities Meaning## Notes

### Funding information

Funding from PIA-CONICYT Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence Project FB0003 and CONICYT/FONDECYT #3180238 is gratefully recognized.

## References

- Araya, R., & Dartnell, P. (2008). Video study of mathematics teaching in Chile. In
*Resource document*. International Mathematical Union. http://www.mathunion.org/fileadmin/ICMI/files/About_ICMI/Publications_about_ICMI/ICME_11/Araya_Dartnell.pdf. Accessed 15 Nov 2017. - Bonner, E. (2014). Investigating practices of highly successful mathematics teachers of traditionally underserved students.
*Educational Studies in Mathematics, 86*(3), 377–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Chapman, O., & Heater, B. (2010). Understanding change through a high school mathematics teacher’s journey to inquiry-based teaching.
*Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 13*(6), 445–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Cohen, D. K. (1990). A revolution in one classroom: The case of Mrs. Oublier.
*Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12*(3), 311–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Cross, D. (2009). Alignment, cohesion, and change: Examining mathematics teachers’ beliefs structures and their influence on instructional practices.
*Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 12*(5), 325–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - De Freitas, E., & Walshaw, M. (2016).
*Alternative theoretical frameworks for mathematics education research. Theory meets data*. Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Fairclough, N. (1992).
*Discourse and social change*. Malden: Polity Press.Google Scholar - Felmer, P., & Perdomo-Díaz, J. (2016). Novice Chilean secondary mathematics teachers as problem solvers. In P. Felmer, E. Pehkonen, & J. Kilpatrick (Eds.),
*Posing and solving problems. Advances and new perspectives*(pp. 287-308). Switzerland: Springer.Google Scholar - Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power.
*Critical Inquiry, 8*(4), 777–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Franke, M., Carpenter, T., Levi, L., & Fennema, E. (2001). Capturing teachers’ generative change: A follow-up study of professional development in mathematics.
*American Educational Research Journal, 38*(3), 653–689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Gellert, U., Espinoza, L., Barbé, J. (2013). Being a mathematics teacher in times of reform.
*ZDM, 45*(4), 535-545.Google Scholar - Giroux, H. (1981).
*Ideology, culture and the process of schooling*. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar - Guskey, T. (2002). Professional development and teacher change.
*Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 8*(3/4), 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Hall, S. (1983).
*Cultural Studies 1983. A theoretical history*. Buenos Aires: Paidós.Google Scholar - Hall, S. (1986). Gramsci’s relevance for the study of race and ethnicity.
*Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10*(5), 5–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Hall, S. (1996). Who needs “identity”? In S. Hall & P. Du Gay (Eds.),
*Questions of cultural identity*(pp. 1–17). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar - Hall, S. (1997). The work of representation. In S. Hall (Ed.),
*Representation. Cultural representations and signifying practices*(pp. 13–74). London: The Open University.Google Scholar - Klein, M. (2010). How teacher subjectivity in teaching mathematics-as-usual disenfranchises students. In
*Resource document*. University of Nottingham. Centre for the Study of Mathematics Education. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csme/meas/papers/kleinm.html. Accessed 15 Oct 2017. - Koellner, K., Jacobs, J., & Borko, H. (2011). Mathematics professional development: Critical features for developing leadership skills and building teachers’ capacity.
*Mathematics Teacher Education and Development, 13*(1), 115–136.Google Scholar - Labaree, D. (1992). Power, knowledge, and the rationalization of teaching: A genealogy of the movement to professionalize teaching.
*Harvard Educational Review, 62*(2), 123–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Lambert, M. (1988). What can research on teacher education tell us about improving quality in mathematics education?
*Teaching and Teacher Education, 4*(2), 157–170.Google Scholar - Lambert, M. (1990). When the problem is not the question and the solution is not the answer: Mathematical knowing and teaching.
*American Educational Research Journal, 27*(1), 29–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Leonardo, Z. (2003).
*Ideology, discourse, and school reform*. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar - Mehan, H. (1979).
*Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom.*Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar - Montecino, A., & Valero, P. (2017). Mathematics teachers as products and agents: To be and not to be. That’s the point. In H. Straehler-Pohl, N. Bohlmann, & A. Pais (Eds.),
*The disorder of mathematics education*(pp. 135–153). Cham: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - National Academy of Education (2009).
*Education policy fwhite paper on teacher quality.*https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED531145.pdf. Accessed 12 Dec 2018. - National Advisory Committee on Mathematical Education. (1975).
*Overview and analysis of school mathematics. Grades K-12*. Washington, D.C.: Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences.Google Scholar - National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform.
*The Elementary School Journal, 84*(2), 112–130.Google Scholar - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1984).
*An agenda for action. Recommendations for school mathematics of the 1980*. Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000).
*Principles and standards for school mathematics*. Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014).
*Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all*. Reston, VA: NCTM.Google Scholar - National Research Council. (2010).
*Preparing teachers: Building evidence for sound policy*. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar - Parker, F., Bartell, T., & Novak, J. (2017). Developing culturally responsive mathematics teachers: Secondary teachers’ evolving conceptions of knowing students.
*Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20*(4), 385–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Popkewtiz, T. (1988). Institutional issues in the study of school mathematics: Curriculum research.
*Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19*(2), 221–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Pringle, R., Milton, K., Adams, T., West-Olatunni, C., & Archer-Banks, D. (2012). Factors influencing elementary teachers’ positioning of African American girls as science and mathematics learners.
*School Science and Mathematics, 112*(4), 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Radovic, D., & Preiss, D. (2010). Discourse patterns observed in middle-school level mathematics classes in Chile.
*Psykhe, 19*(2), 65–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Sannino, A. (2010). Teachers’ talk of experiencing: Conflict, resistance and agency.
*Teaching and Teacher Education, 26*(4), 838–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Shah, N., & Leonardo, Z. (2017). Learning discourses of race and mathematics in classroom interaction. In I. Esmonde & A. N. Booker (Eds.),
*Power and privilege in the learning sciences: Critical and sociocultural theories of learning*(pp. 50–69). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar - Smith, C., & Gillespie, M. (2007). Research on professional development and teacher change: Implications for adult basic education. In
*Resource document*. National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy. http://www.ncsall.net/fileadmin/resources/ann_rev/smith-gillespie-07.pdf. Accessed 23 Nov 2017. - Smith, E. (1998). Reflective reform in mathematics: The recursive nature of teacher change.
*Educational Studies in Mathematics, 37*(3), 199–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Valenzuela, J. P., Bellei, C., & Allende, C. (2016). Measuring systematic long-term trajectories of school effectiveness improvement.
*School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27*(4), 473–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Valero, P. (2007). A socio-political look at equity in the school organization of mathematics education.
*ZDM Mathematics Education, 39*(3), 225–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Wagner, D., & Herbel-Eisenmann, B. (2014). Identifying authority structures in mathematics classroom discourse: A case of a teacher’s early experience in a new context.
*ZDM Mathematics Education, 46*, 871–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Walshaw, M. (2013). Post-structuralism and ethical practical action: Issues of identity and power.
*Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44*(1), 100–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Youdell, D. (2010).
*School trouble: Identity, power and politics in education*. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Zevenbergen, R. (2010). Mathematics, social class, and linguistic capital: An analysis of mathematics classroom interactions. In B. Atweh, H. Forgasz, & B. Nebres (Eds.),
*Sociocultural research on mathematics education. An international perspective*(pp. 201–215). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar - Zimmerman, J. (2006). Why some teachers resist change and what principals can do about it.
*NASSP Bulletin, 90*(3), 238–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar