Learning Sciences Lunch and Learn with Megumi Asada: “Undergraduate Math Instructors’ Perceived Barriers to Implementing Culturally Sustaining Practices”

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Connect with colleagues during this in-person presentation at the GSE (Room 124). Pizza will be provided! Can’t attend in person? Join us remotely via Zoom!

Undergraduate math education is highly inequitable. One potential strategy to improve the unfair experiences and outcomes of historically marginalized groups in mathematics is to use culturally sustaining practices (CSP), which relate math content to students’ culture and everyday lives. However, there is limited work exploring the applicability of culturally sustaining practices, among other equitable practices, in the undergraduate mathematics setting. Since most existing scholarship on CSP has been in the K-12 context, it is unclear the extent to which the same strategies work in university classrooms. In this talk I review interview data from seven math doctoral student instructors to understand their perceived barriers to implementing culturally sustaining practices in undergraduate math classrooms. I’ll discuss two themes that emerged: (1) in some instances, participants perceived institutional obligations to directly conflict with a desire to enact CSP practices and (2) participants expressed that a lack of knowledge of how to properly implement some CSP recommendations impeded their ability to practice them. This work underscores the importance of attending to the role of institutional constraints on mathematics teaching. 

Megumi Asada (they/them) is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Their research interests include abolitionist and emancipatory possibilities in advanced undergraduate math courses and opportunities to tie advanced mathematics to the development of students’ political consciousness. Prior to Rutgers, Megumi taught high school algebra in Bronx, NY, through an education nonprofit. Megumi holds a Masters of Philosophy in Criminology from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in Mathematics with honors from Williams College. 

View the flyer.