The Co-Construction of Mathematics Identities Among d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Middle Grade Students

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posted on 27.10.2017, 00:00 by Deena Soffer Goldstein
Research in mathematics education among d/Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) learners has documented that DHH students lag behind their hearing peers on measures of mathematics achievement (e.g., Kritzer, 2008; Nunes & Moreno, 2002; Swanwick, Oddy, & Roper, 2005). Research in the areas of mathematics identity, agency, and socialization has great potential for advancing our understanding of mathematics teaching and learning among DHH learners. In this study, I examine the mathematics learning experiences of four d/Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) middle grade students in a self-contained DHH classroom. Through in-depth analyses of narrative identities and identities-in-practice, I explore the co-construction of DHH students’ mathematics identities: what a DHH student believes about himself or herself as a learner of mathematics and how others position the individual. Based on my analyses of classroom observations, teacher interviews, and student interviews, my findings focus on rich descriptions of the general and specifically mathematical obligations and the characterizations of competence in this classroom. The general and mathematical obligations that emerged in this classroom involved expectations of compliant behaviors and procedural fluency in the context of low-level activities. The characterizations of competence and of being a competent learner are based, in part, on these jointly constructed expectations in the classroom. I present within-case analyses of two students to illustrate how the obligations and characterizations of competence in this classroom, coupled with the students’ and others’ narratives and experiences, shape how these two students see themselves and are seen by others as DHH learners and as doers of mathematics. While complying with the obligations may position a DHH student as competent in this classroom, ultimately, it may not align with the larger mathematics community’s characterizations of proficiency in mathematics. Furthermore, students’ abilities to positively align their DHH and mathematics identities are influenced by classroom practices and structures. Several new and related questions emerged from this study that could have implications for further research and practice.



Martin, Danny B


Martin, Danny B


Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Committee Member

Martinez, Mara Larnell, Gregory Talbott, Elizabeth Kretschmer, Robert

Submitted date

May 2017

Issue date