Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice: Conversations with Educators

Anita A Wager & David W. Stinson
Review by: Katie Krutzelmann

This book acts as a vehicle to guide readers through their development of an individual definition, or understanding, of social justice in mathematics through reflecting on the contributions of its authors. These individuals include “mathematics classroom teachers, teacher educators, and education researchers and scholars – in short, mathematics educators – who have explored, developed, researched, and/or taught mathematics for social change” (Wager & Stinson, 2012, p. 3).
The book aims to provide the audience with a comprehensive platform to explore the topic, starting with historical perspectives of critical theory and pedagogy, moving into teacher education and professional development, and finishing with the experiences of classroom teachers. While the majority of the perspectives are that of the United States, I feel that the content is applicable to social justice within the Canadian context as well*.
The introduction provides a brief summary of each chapter, as well as a disclaimer by the editors explicitly stating the limitations (and slight irony) of being selective when choosing members to discuss a topic such as social justice. That being said, it seems to be done deliberately to emphasize the importance of and to focus the reader’s attention on the use of critical analysis.
The target audience would most likely be educators seeking to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to incorporate social justice into their philosophy and to employ social justice in their teaching of mathematics. The only limitation for this audience would be the lack of a primary teaching perspective (ex. K – Gr. 3), however the principles discussed are applicable to any grade.
Overall, this book is a valuable and accessible resource for anyone looking to explore issues of social justice in the teaching of math.

*Canadian Context: One of the contributing teachers is from City View Alternative School, Toronto, Ontario.