Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching Framework

We draw on Zavala and Aguirre’s (2023) framework for culturally responsive mathematics teaching (CRMT). The CRMT framework consists of three main strands: Knowledges and Identities; Rigor and Support; and Power and Participation. Each strand consists of multiple dimensions.

The Knowledges and Identities strand elevates student cultural and community knowledge and experiences, affirms positive mathematical identities, and honors student thinking and ideas (Aguirre, Mayfield-Ingram & Martin, 2013; Carpenter et al, 2014; Civil, 2007). By engaging students in meaningful and culturally relevant mathematical tasks, teachers position the knowledge and experiences that students from diverse racial, cultural, linguistic, and mathematical backgrounds bring to the classroom as resources for learning. This actively resists marginalization via ideologies that position specific students as academically inferior based on the color of their skin, the languages they speak or the neighborhood they live in (Adiredja & Louie, 2020). 

 The Rigor and Support strand emphasizes sustained opportunities for students to engage with high cognitive demand mathematics tasks that strengthen their analytical and inquiry skills (Smith & Stein, 1998). Students may need multiple and varied supports (i.e., social scaffolds, analytic scaffolds, see Anhalt, 2014) to access tasks and sustain their engagement. Furthermore, affirming multilingualism acknowledges that children who speak more than one language need to be centered as valuable contributors to the mathematical learning space. These dimensions represent ways to resist structural marginalization which systematically denies specific students access to high value resources such as rich mathematical tasks because of ideologies about academic readiness or dominant language acquisition (Chen & Horn, 2023). 

The Power and Participation strand emphasizes distributing intellectual authority among students and teachers, disrupting stereotypes and status hierarchies that shape social relationships and classroom interactions, and engaging critical consciousness through mathematical analysis and taking action (Featherstone et al, 201l; Gutstein, 2006). The emphasis on disrupting traditional status and power hierarchies reflects ways to resist ideological marginalization based on narratives that devalue students’ intellectual contributions, and limit the identities and roles available to them (Chen & Horn, 2022).

Culturally Responsive Mathematics Teaching Framework (Zavala & Aguirre, 2023) Descriptions above is from Turner, E., Aguirre, J., Carlson, M. A., Suh, J., & Fulton, E. (2024). Resisting marginalization with culturally responsive mathematical modeling in elementary classrooms. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 1-15.

CRMT Toolkit (Lesson Analysis Tool with Questions Stems to support Pivotal Spaces)