Primary Maths and Social Justice Research Project (PMSJ): Report (January 2023)

Pete Wright, Caroline Hilton, Joel Kelly

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The Primary Maths and Social Justice (PMSJ) research project was a collaboration between three lead researchers and six teacher researchers that took place in two different primary schools in Greater London between November 2021 and July 2022.

The project set out to explore how primary school teachers can pursue an interest in social justice issues (often cited as a reason for wanting to become a teacher in the first place) in teaching mathematics. We explored the potential of a model of participatory action research (PAR), which we have previously established (Wright, 2021; Wright, et al., 2022), for building and maintaining early career teachers’ agency and self-efficacy in developing their own practice. We drew on a conceptualisation of teaching mathematics for social justice (TMSJ) to explore ways of developing students’ critical mathematical understanding and collective agency in primary school classrooms (Wright, 2016; Wright, 2017). We see these two dispositions towards mathematics as vital for enabling today’s learners to play a future role in addressing the environmental, economic and social challenges facing our society, reflecting recent calls for a more humanistic school curriculum (OECD, 2018; UNESCO, 2015). We anticipated the project would help us develop the concept of ‘socio-mathematical agency’ (SMA), which we define as the ability to use mathematics effectively to argue collectively for social change. Through exploring how students’ critical mathematical understanding and collective agency can be measured/assessed/developed, we hoped to develop a better understanding of how SMA can be operationalised in the classroom.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity College London
Number of pages63
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


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