Research Library

The proliferation of studies that focus on Black children in the last 20 years has been critical in nuancing the mathematical experiences of Black learners. While this research has provided evidence of the existence of successful Black learners of mathematics and established the different mechanisms that serve as barriers to their success, we know less about what happens in classrooms. Specifically, how are Black learners experiencing mathematics moment-to- moment or, over time. In this paper, we synthesize literature on the positioning of Black learners in mathematics classrooms. Focusing on this topic allows for more understanding on how Black learners are positioned and by whom. Leveraging intersectionality as a tool and focusing on the interpersonal and cultural domains of power, provides some understanding of why Black learners are positioned in particular ways. Findings suggest that Black learners are positioned in both productive and unproductive ways by their peers and teachers. Additionally, these positions are connected to the multiple identities of students and teachers, and how they intersect with issues of power, intersectionality. Implications of this synthesis include considerations for how teachers position students implicitly and explicitly, development of policy that requires professional development around intersectionality and training for teachers to improve their practice. We conclude by recommending that future research use intersectionality theory to uncover inequities that occur during mathematics instruction across grade levels, but particularly in middle school grades.