Learning Assistantships in College Mathematics: Value for Preservice Teacher Development
Keywords:mathematics, active learning, learning assistants, preservice teachers, STEM education, undergraduate student development
Increasing the achievement of students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) from early grades to college coursework continues to be at the forefront of educational transformations and research. There is a need for stakeholders at various levels of education to collaborate and confront the complexities of STEM teaching and learning, especially in areas like mathematics education. In recent decades, active learning in college mathematics coursework focusing on collaboration and inquiry-based learning has been proven to positively impact student learning outcomes and is transforming how students and faculty experience mathematics. Active learning environments also provide a unique opportunity to engage undergraduate learning assistants with faculty where they can support near-peer students and deepen their own understanding. Situated within a scholarship program interested in recruiting, retaining, and supporting future STEM teachers, researchers seek to understand what aspects of undergraduate student participation matter most their development and interest in STEM and teaching. In particular, this paper examines scholarship participants serving as learning assistants in active learning college mathematics classrooms to see where and how they find value in their experience. Implications of this research can inform faculty and university programs on how they might prioritize and transform learning opportunities for students to impact their current and future development in STEM and beyond.