What’s in a Name? Framing Struggles of a Mathematics Education Reform Community

Abstract

Concerns over the quality and diversity of the future workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the United States have led to repeated calls to reform undergraduate education. This paper focuses on the efforts of one mathematics education reform movement in higher education to frame itself and its inquiry-based learning (IBL) teaching methods. Since its inception, members of this IBL movement struggled to negotiate their historical connection to the legacy of the late mathematician R. L. Moore and their need to modernize to recruit new mathematics instructors. A strong initial connection to Moore and his now-troubling racial and sexist views led to intense disputes over the framing, or branding, of the movement that at first inhibited its growth, but over time led to an understanding of IBL that embraces a broader range of methods and people.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the study participants for their time and candor. We also thank the Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) for sharing documents from their archives, and the US National Science Foundation for support of this study under award DUE-1347669. We thank a number of advisors who provided thoughtful comments on this manuscript and the public presentation of our findings to practitioners. All findings and opinions are those of the authors and not the EAF or the funder.

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Haberler, Z., Laursen, S.L. & Hayward, C.N. What’s in a Name? Framing Struggles of a Mathematics Education Reform Community. Int. J. Res. Undergrad. Math. Ed. 4, 415–441 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40753-018-0079-4

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Keywords

  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Undergraduate mathematics education reform
  • Framing
  • Social movements
  • Social identity
  • History of mathematics education