KEY IDEAS

More than 500,000 children in Canada come from migrant backgrounds (Statistics Canada, 2011) and all must study mathematics. How does migration affect students' and teachers' experiences of school mathematics? Research suggests that many students from immigrant backgrounds face challenges in mathematics and underachieve. We conjecture that the mathematics teachers of migrant students often have little understanding of what their students are experiencing or what mathematics they already know. Migrant students can find the culture of teaching and learning mathematics quite alien, may bring novel ways of doing mathematics, and may encounter new ways of thinking about mathematics. Cultural differences in mathematics classrooms lead teachers to feel uncertain and unprepared. We aim to (i) understand the experiences of students and teachers of learning and teaching mathematics in the context of migration (ii) promote dialogue between students and teachers in relation to these experiences and observe the impact of this dialogue on teachers' practice.

Our study is guided by the following research questions:

RQ1  What is the nature of upper elementary school migrant students’ cultural-historical repertoires of mathematics?

RQ2  How do upper elementary school migrant students experience the cultural-historical repertoires of mathematics present in their mathematics classes?

 

RQ3  How are these experiences shaped by centripetal and centrifugal cultural forces?

 

RQ4  How do the teachers of upper elementary school migrant students experience migrant students’ experiences of the cultural-historical repertoires of mathematics in their mathematics classrooms?

RQ5  How do upper elementary school teachers of migrant students adapt their practice in response to migrant students’ experiences of the cultural-historical repertoires of mathematics in their mathematics classrooms?

RQ6   How do we, as researchers, identify and navigate the ethical dilemmas arising in the project?