Power in numbers: Student participation in mathematical discussions in heterogeneous spaces

Indigo Esmonde, Jennifer M. Langer-Osuna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


In this article, mathematics classrooms are conceptualized as heterogeneous spaces in which multiple figured worlds come into contact. The study explores how a group of high school students drew upon several figured worlds as they navigated mathematical discussions. Results highlight 3 major points. First, the students drew on 2 primary figured worlds: A mathematics learning figured world and a Figured world of friendship and romance. Both of these figured worlds were racialized and gendered, and were actively constructed and contested by the students. Second, these figured worlds offered resources for 1 African American student, Dawn, to position herself powerfully within classroom hierarchies. Third, these acts of positioning allowed Dawn to engage in mathematical practices such as conjecturing, clarifying ideas, and providing evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-315
Number of pages28
JournalJournal for Research in Mathematics Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • 9-12, Race/ethnicity/SES
  • Classroom interaction
  • Discourse analysis
  • Equity/diversity
  • Gender issues
  • High school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)


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