“Everything Matters”: Mexican-American Prospective Elementary Teachers Noticing Issues of Status and Participation While Learning to Teach Mathematics
Abstract When prospective teachers learn to teach mathematics, they develop an understanding of content and pedagogy, which also includes strategies that encourage all children to participate in their learning. There is research that shows that issues of status and inequitable participation can hinder children’s access to learning mathematics and can give children the impression that only some students can do mathematics. The following book chapter presents the experiences of three Mexican-American immigrant prospective teachers as they learn how to teach elementary mathematics and to notice issues of status and participation in their fieldwork. Data sources include coursework artifacts from the methods classroom, observations in the field and semi-structured individual interviews with the participants. Using the professional noticing framework, the findings suggest that the prospective teachers attended to, interpreted, and acted upon moments of unequal status and participation with children in the field over the course of the semester. Implications for teacher education and future research will be discussed.
Keywords Elementary mathematics Teacher education Status Equitable participation • Professional noticing framework
After watching this video I realized that everything matters: how we [as teachers] stand, where we stand, how we talk, and who we talk to... We decided to pick Jordan to come up front because we realized that he had good strategy, and I am glad we did because it gave him the opportunity to participate in the class despite [the fact that] he is not proficient in Spanish yet, since this is his first year at Douglas [Elementary]” (Maricela,1 italics added for emphasis).
1All names have been changed to maintain the confidentiality of the participants. 
Learning to teach mathematics is a process that is challenging, dynamic, and iterative. Prospective teachers learning to teach mathematics must attend to multiple aspects of their practice, including the mathematical thinking of their students and pedagogical strategies that elicit and extend this thinking (Berk & Hiebert, 2009; Stein, Engle, Smith, & Hughes, 2008). Yet, there are other aspects of teaching, such as affording children the opportunity to participate in the process of learning mathematics, which may hinder (or support) all children to learn mathematics. For example, traditional classrooms may not incorporate children’s diverse knowledge, experiences, and resources that they bring to the classroom and as a result, not all children may have an opportunity to learn mathematics (Featherstone et al., 2011; Moschkovich, 2013).
In an effort to open more opportunities for children to learn mathematics, there is growing research about how a child’s status (a perceived social ranking) (Cohen, Lotan, & Catanzarite, 1988) in the classroom can influence how (and/or if) they take an active role in the classroom (Featherstone et al., 2011). When children have equal status (e.g., academic, social, linguistic statuses) in the classroom, teachers can work toward a goal of promoting equity for all students in their classrooms (Boaler, 2006; Cohen & Lotan, 1995). The purpose of this chapter is to use the professional noticing analytic framework (Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010) to explore the experiences of three Mexican-American prospective teachers (PTs) as they noticed issues of status and participation in their field experience classrooms. The chapter will begin by discussing what is already known about mathematics teacher preparation regarding status and participation. Ultimately, this chapter will return to Maricela, one of the participants in this study, to consider her conclusion that “everything matters” when it comes to recognizing issues of status and participation while learning to teach mathematics.