# Beyond Deficit Models of Learning Mathematics: Socio-cultural Directions for Change and Research

## Abstract

Major paradigmatic changes in mathematics education research are drawing attention to new perspectives on learning. Whereas deficit models were previously in the foreground of research designs, these have been replaced by a wide variety of theoretical directions for studying diverse approaches to learning mathematics. There is now an acceptance of the need for richness and variety in research practices so that approaches can be studied, compared and mutually applied and improved. Psychological and quantitative approaches and methods are now increasingly complemented, or even replaced, by new directions that rely on social and anthropological theories and methods. Rather than reviving ideas about deficit research in mathematics education, the aim of this chapter is to present some socio-cultural perspectives of mathematics learning, and to show how these perspectives go beyond the deficit model of learning. Framing the main traditional markers of discrimination in school mathematics—gender, social class and ethnicity—in a perspective of social justice, the chapter concludes with a reflection on equality in terms of the democratic principle of meritocracy in mathematics education.

## Keywords

Social Justice Mathematics Education Mathematics Teacher Mathematics Learning Mathematics Curriculum## Notes

### Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to Ricardo Scucuglia for his generous support in directing us to important international references, to Alexandre Rodrigues for his assistance in the organization of the references, and to Steve Lerman and Simon Goodchild for helpfully reviewing this chapter.

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