In Their Own Words: A Narrative Case Study Examining the Counterstories of Black Women in Mathematics Education




Johnson, Paula Noelle

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The purpose of this narrative case study was to address the underrepresentation of Black women in secondary mathematics education by composing counterstories to the traditional, deficit, stereotypical way in which Black women and girls are presented in education. The study explored the middle and high school mathematical experiences of three Black women mathematics educators, how those experiences led them to the field of education and continue to influence their instructional practices, and what recommendations they have for teacher education programs and young women interested in mathematics education.

Literature on Black student achievement in mathematics is extremely limited concerning Black women and girls in mathematics, a subject considered a gateway for minority students interested in STEM fields. Key findings include: positive attitudes towards mathematics, diverse educational environments, engagement in real-to-life learning experiences, strong mentoring relationships, the role of historically Black colleges and universities, Black women in the role as mother-teachers, and targeted recruitment of girls of color into STEM activities.

This study honors three Black Unicorns, rare figures in the world of mathematics education, whose stories will be told. This collection of counterstories highlights the magic of Black women in mathematics education and the power of intersectionality, multidimensionality, and multiplicative praxis at work in their lives.


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Black women, counterstory, intersectionality, narrative case study, secondary mathematics, teacher education



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching