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.
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.
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.
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.
Cohen, D. K. (1990). A revolution in one classroom: The case of Mrs. Oublier. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12(3), 311–329.
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.
De Freitas, E., & Walshaw, M. (2016). Alternative theoretical frameworks for mathematics education research. Theory meets data. Cham: Springer.
Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Malden: Polity Press.
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.
Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. Critical Inquiry, 8(4), 777–795.
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.
Gellert, U., Espinoza, L., Barbé, J. (2013). Being a mathematics teacher in times of reform. ZDM, 45(4), 535-545.
Giroux, H. (1981). Ideology, culture and the process of schooling. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Guskey, T. (2002). Professional development and teacher change. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 8(3/4), 381–392.
Hall, S. (1983). Cultural Studies 1983. A theoretical history. Buenos Aires: Paidós.
Hall, S. (1986). Gramsci’s relevance for the study of race and ethnicity. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10(5), 5–28.
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.
Hall, S. (1997). The work of representation. In S. Hall (Ed.), Representation. Cultural representations and signifying practices (pp. 13–74). London: The Open University.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leonardo, Z. (2003). Ideology, discourse, and school reform. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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.
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.
National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. The Elementary School Journal, 84(2), 112–130.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1984). An agenda for action. Recommendations for school mathematics of the 1980. Reston, VA: NCTM.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: NCTM.
National Research Council. (2010). Preparing teachers: Building evidence for sound policy. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
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.
Popkewtiz, T. (1988). Institutional issues in the study of school mathematics: Curriculum research. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19(2), 221–249.
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.
Radovic, D., & Preiss, D. (2010). Discourse patterns observed in middle-school level mathematics classes in Chile. Psykhe, 19(2), 65–79.
Sannino, A. (2010). Teachers’ talk of experiencing: Conflict, resistance and agency. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 838–844.
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.
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.
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.
Valero, P. (2007). A socio-political look at equity in the school organization of mathematics education. ZDM Mathematics Education, 39(3), 225–233.
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.
Walshaw, M. (2013). Post-structuralism and ethical practical action: Issues of identity and power. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 100–118.
Youdell, D. (2010). School trouble: Identity, power and politics in education. London: Routledge.
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.
Zimmerman, J. (2006). Why some teachers resist change and what principals can do about it. NASSP Bulletin, 90(3), 238–249.
Funding from PIA-CONICYT Basal Funds for Centers of Excellence Project FB0003 and CONICYT/FONDECYT #3180238 is gratefully recognized.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Valoyes-Chávez, L. On the making of a new mathematics teacher: professional development, subjectivation, and resistance to change. Educ Stud Math 100, 177–191 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-018-9869-5
- Professional development programs
- Mathematics teacher