Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Roger Hart

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Psychology | Elementary Education | Mathematics | Science and Mathematics Education


mathematics anxiety, working memory, restorative justice circles, critical concepts of care, hope, and love, mathematics identity


Children navigate their world and are constantly making meaning of their experiences. Through this meaning making, children are also constructing their identities. Black and Brown children have an added layer of identity construction compared to their White peers. Black and Brown students develop their racial identity in conjunction with multiple other identities. This paper focuses specifically on how Black and Brown students construct a "mathematics identity" that is meaningful to their racial identity in order to help lessen their mathematics anxiety. I argue that the use of Restorative Justice Circles (RJC) in classrooms will allow for students to bring their own identity into the communal space of the classroom while also fostering the construction of a mathematics identity. Through the use of critical concepts of care, educators can create a more reciprocal relationship with their students. RJC allow students to better understand who they are, what they identify with, what that means for them in the world, and how they view themselves in relation to math content learning. Black and brown students need more spaces in school where they are able to talk about their identity, including their identity in relation to mathematics learning. A proposal is offered to use these concepts to improve their relationships and levels of trust with their teacher and peers and to help them feel intrinsically connected with their mathematics work. I believe that RJC, critical concepts of care, and providing students with tools to address their anxiety is the biggest precursor to Black and Brown students feeling success in the mathematics classroom.