For over 10 years, mathematics educators have sought to use mathematics tasks with social justice contexts to engage students. While student teachers in the UCLA Teacher Education Program (TEP) engage in social justice tasks in their secondary mathematics method classes, very few teachers use these types of tasks with students in the classrooms. The master’s inquiry projects of three TEP students who engaged their students in social justice tasks are analyzed to determine how their backgrounds and positionality influenced their instructional decision making. Results show that personal experiences in the teachers’ lives, as well as a desire to increase motivation and participation influenced their decisions to engage students in social justice mathematics tasks. Mathematics teacher educators need to provide opportunities for pre- and in-service teachers to engage in social justice tasks and support them in classroom implementation.



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