Transfronteriza Pre-Service Teachers Managing, Resisting and Coping with the Demands of Mathematical Discourse

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Alberto Esquinca (2013) Transfronteriza pre-service teachers managing, resisting, and coping with the demands of mathematical discourse, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26:3, 279-300, DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2012.762474


This article reports on a case study of a college class for pre-service teachers on the US–Mexico border in which students participated in in-depth discussion around mathematical problems every day. This pedagogical approach promotes the socialization of students into and through the specialized discourse of mathematics. The focus of this paper is on the experience of transfronterizo students in that course. Transfronterizos are Mexican residents who periodically cross the border to attend school. For these students, whose educational background in Mexico allowed them to develop proficiency in elementary mathematical discourse in Spanish, their socialization experience includes ways in which they draw on language, and other social and learning experiences in Mexico. The focus of this paper is an assignment called Thinking Logs, a genre that required the use of mathematical discourse for teaching. Drawing on data gathered from participant observation of the course, interviews, analysis of study session discourse, and genre analysis, I highlight agentive ways that each participant used in their own socialization process. I show how participants improvised writing of models, asked for clarification in the first language, and even resisted the discourse. Students who resisted the demands might incur negative effects. Furthermore, I argue that the role of the guidance from an expert (such as a professor) is imperative in a socialization process, and I offer implications for ways that teachers can guide second language writers to develop mathematics discourse.