Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2019 Issue »

    Normalizing Black Girls’ Humanity in Mathematics Classrooms

    Nicole M. Joseph, Meseret F. Hailu, and Jamall Sharif Matthews
    In this article, Nicole Joseph, Meseret Hailu, and Jamaal Matthews argue that Black girls’ oppression in the United States is largely related to the dehumanization of their personhood, which extends to various institutions, including secondary schools and, especially, mathematics classrooms. They contend that one way to engage in educational equity and social-justice-focused education is to teach Black girls in the classroom in a way that is humanizing. With this idea in mind, they explore relationships between Black girls’ humanity and mathematics teaching and learning. Using interviews with ten Black adolescent girls representing varying levels of engagement in mathematics and enrolled in middle and high school math courses, the authors argue that inclusive pedagogies can be used to humanize this marginalized student group.

    Click here to access this article.
    Nicole M. Joseph (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3455-1594) is an assistant professor of mathematics education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Vanderbilt University. Her research explores two lines of inquiry: Black women and girls, their identity development, and their experiences in mathematics and how White supremacy operates and shapes underrepresentation of Black women and girls in mathematics.

    Meseret F. Hailu (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6080-0577) is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. The overarching theme of her research is the pursuit of gender equity in STEM education, and she focuses on the strategies, programs, and systems that help historically underrepresented students and faculty succeed in these fields. Hailu’s research agenda relies on a critical analysis of systems of power, access, and opportunity in postsecondary education.

    Jamaal Sharif Matthews is an associate professor of educational psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey. His research focuses on motivation in mathematics in urban schools and how race, the sociocultural context, and teachers shape students’ beliefs about mathematics. The powerful implications his research has for counseling and out-of-school youth interventions are evidenced through his youth mentorship program T.H.R.E.A.D.S (Truth, Honor, Respect, Education and Development of Self), which promotes positive youth development for urban middle school boys in a fifteen-week afterschool format.
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