Vol. 17 No. 1 (2007)

Being a Mathematics Learner: Four Faces of Identity

Published 2015-05-01


One dimension of mathematics learning is developing an identity as a mathematics learner. The social learning theories of Gee (2001) and Wenger (1998) serve as a basis for the discussion four “faces” of identity: engagement, imagination, alignment, and nature. A study conducted with 54 rural high school students, with half enrolled in a mathematics course, provides evidence for how these faces highlight different ways students develop their identity relative to their experiences with classroom mathematics. Using this identity framework several ways that student identities—relative to mathematics learning—can be developed, supported, and maintained by teachers are provided.