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Preservice Teachers Examine Gender Equity in Teaching Math

Using a Journal Article as a Professional Development Experience

    FoY 2007-2008 Equity 

Title:          Preservice Teachers Examine Gender Equity in Teaching Mathematics
Author:      Maureen D. Neumann
Journal:     Teaching Children Mathematics
Issue:        March 2007, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp. 388-395


Rationale for Use  

This article describes a project used with preservice teachers to help them recognize possible inequitable teaching practices. This article provides teachers with strategies for identifying and addressing inequitable aspects of their own teaching practice particularly related to verbal interaction. Further, it provides opportunities to adapt the project to address other aspects of inequitable practice. It is recommended that this professional development experience take place in a multi-day format with time between sessions.


  • A copy of Figure 1 (page 390) from the article
  • A copy of Figure 2 (page 391) from the article
  • A copy of data summary sheet (Figure 3 - page 392) with the data deleted
  • A copy of the reflection questions (Figure 5 - page 395)

Procedures/Discussion Questions 

The purpose of the professional development session is to have teachers examine their own teaching practice in terms of creating conditions of equal participation for all students.

  1. The following questions will facilitate a discussion about how teachers perceive their practice as being equitable.
  • What does equity mean to you? Draw an equity map to illustrate your beliefs and experiences that may have shaped this belief system.
  • In your daily practice, how do you provide equal learning opportunities for all students?
  • How does your equity map align with your teaching practice? Explain.
  • Research shows that teachers often stereotype their students, perhaps unconsciously. Comment on this statement in relation to your practice.
  1. Introduce the Equity Teaching Analysis Project to participants.
  • Read the article to gain an understanding of the Equity Teaching Analysis Project.
  • Read and discuss the verbal interaction categories listed in Figure 1.
  • Read and discuss the sample teacher transcript and coding shown in Figure 2.
  • Review the expectations of Step 3 (below) and develop a plan for taping.
  1. Participants independently conduct the Equity Teaching Analysis Project.
  • Tape a 20-minute math lesson: Teachers will use video or audio tape to tape and record a mathematics lesson for 20 minutes.
  • Code teacher-student discussions: Create a transcript OR listen to the recording to code each interaction according to the verbal interaction categories created by Shepardson and Pizzini (1991).
  • Analyze verbal interactions: Teachers will complete the data summary sheet to identify and interpret the patterns of potential inequitable practice. (This analysis will include the quality and quantity of the various interactions outlined in Figure 1.) See the example in Figure 2.
  1. Whole Group Meeting
  • Use the Think-Pair Share model to share results: Teachers will describe their results from the Equity Teaching Analysis Project and reflect on their analysis.
  • Create an intervention plan for their teaching behavior. Teachers should identify one or two changes in teaching practice that they want to implement over the next six weeks. An example would be: Asking high-level questions of all students including those who were not demanding.
  1. Implement the Intervention Plan
  • Over a period of 4-6 weeks, teachers will actively address the behaviors identified in their intervention plan.
  • Repeat the Equity Teaching Analysis Project - see Step Two.
  1. Conclusion
  • Reflect on the results of the second analysis to see if inequitable practices persist and if self-prescribed intervention plans are effective.
  • Revise intervention plan as needed.


  • This process has potential for teachers to examine their practice across a wide range of equity topics. It could be repeated with a focus on other areas.
  • To further investigate equity issues, teachers need to examine more than verbal interactions. They should consider other components such as: whether activities used are engaging for all students; whether the problems or tasks allow struggling students to be successful, and gifted students to be challenged; and whether students’ assessments are fair and equitable.

Connections to other NCTM Publications 

  • Brodesky, A. R., Gross, F. E., McTigue, A. S., & Tierney, C. C. (2004, October). Planning strategies for students with special needs: A professional development activity. Teaching Children Mathematics, 11, 146-154.
  • Levi, L. (2000, October). Gender equity in mathematics education. Teaching Children Mathematics, 2, 101-105.


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