This paper reports a study of university students’ experiences of learning mathematics in an introductory differential equations course that takes an inquiry approach to learning and teaching. The students are on a trajectory leading toward a bachelor’s degree in mathematics to be followed by a year-long teacher education credential program. The analysis of students’ end of course presentations and written portfolios is framed with community of practice theory, complemented with analytic categories from community of inquiry, including notions of inquiry stance and critical alignment. Our social theorization of university mathematics education adds a complementary perspective to the more conventional cognitive and discursive analyses and is necessitated by the very nature of inquiry approaches to education. The analysis of students’ presentations and writing leads to exploring their development of the notion of critical stance, which the students are seen to take toward the mathematics, their learning, and approaches to teaching mathematics. We find that the notion of critical stance can be distilled into three components: awareness, self-evaluation, and agency.
- Community of practice
- Critical alignment
- Critical stance
- Inquiry-based mathematics education
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