Developing Agency within the Middle-School Mathematics Classroom: Authenticating the Interrelationship between Mathematical and Social Identity
In the traditional middle school mathematics classroom, learning is viewed as a passive process in which students receive knowledge via the didactic instruction of the teacher. Learning is a social process, however, and adolescence is a development period in which social interactions become more salient in students’ formation of identity. The current norms that pervade the middle school mathematics classroom must be transformed to allow for new conceptions of epistemic authority. Classrooms must become communities of learning in which students share the power to construct and negotiate knowledge. In this paper, I focus on the interrelationship of adolescent social development and mathematical agency and how the mathematics classroom should be structured with an understanding of students’ social development. I assert that without a positive interdependence between students, mathematical agency will be hindered and all members of the learning community will be negatively affected.