Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2013 Allison Gantt. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Mathematics & Statistics Department

First Advisor

Cheryl Grood

Second Advisor

Lisa Smulyan


When mathematics is viewed through a social and cultural lens, mathematical communication becomes the method through which mathematics is expressed, negotiated and learned. With this view, learning occurs through social and cultural processes, making communication a central component of classroom contexts that facilitate students' mathematical learning. This project examines an undergraduate abstract algebra classroom that can be described as communication- centered, or structured with a focus on students' access to, participation in, and interaction with reasoned, accountable, and challenging mathematical social practice. Specifically, this paper explores l) students' and professors' beliefs and perceptions about the communicative environment and the learning that occurred in it, and 2) the mathematical social practices (or sociomathematical norms) that developed to support students' mathematical cognitive development and learning. hnplications of this study range from pedagogical recommendations to improve classroom learning to proposals for future research on the complex interplay between context, beliefs, and mathematical social practice.