Attending to Mathematical Ingenuity to Nourish, Empower, and Sustain Elementary Mathematics Teachers
Mallika Scott

About the research


Equity in Math Education Research Grants

Award Year



California State University, Fullerton

Primary Discipline

Teacher Education/Teaching and Learning
The current sociopolitical climate presents ongoing tensions and contradictions for teachers who are committed to fostering robust mathematical learning that builds on the resources each child brings to mathematics. Teachers may encounter a variety of emotionally taxing situations, from the continued prevalence of deficit discourse toward children from minoritized communities to recent incursions into public education from school boards seeking to constrain teacher autonomy. This project focuses on the design and study of collaborative forms of support that can nourish, empower, and sustain elementary teachers in their commitments to ambitious and equitable mathematics teaching as they navigate fraught political contexts. In the proposed study, I will work with a group of practicing elementary teachers to co-design supports that help teachers stay connected to the brilliance of children and the joys of mathematics teaching through a focus on human ingenuity. Collaborative supports will be co-constructed with teachers and may include facilitating community math nights that celebrate expansive displays of mathematical ingenuity, working on math tasks together to connect with children in the human experience of mathematical learning, and leading workshops for pre-service and practicing teachers about ambitious and equitable mathematics teaching. This project aims to strengthen the local TK-8 justice-oriented math education community and to contribute to our understandings of how to support teachers in their mathematics teaching practice while also attending to their spirits.
About Mallika Scott
Mallika Scott is an Assistant Professor of Elementary Education at Cal State Fullerton. Before pursuing an academic career, Mallika worked as a classroom teacher and K-8 mathematics instructional coach. Her research focuses on investigating, designing, and supporting robust teacher learning, particularly as teachers navigate the tensions of working toward a vision of just and equitable mathematics teaching that is not yet widely held or practiced in systems of schooling. Drawing on social design-based methodologies, she works in solidarity with educators to explore transformative possibilities for mathematics teaching and learning that honors the dignity of young people. Mallika’s work is shaped by her experiences as a mother of children in public schools and as a classroom teacher trying to transform unjust systems while working within them. She earned her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Human Development with a specialization in Mathematics Education from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been published in academic and practitioner venues including Cognition and Instruction and Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics.

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