24 SES 09, Mathematical Proficiency and Democratic Agency
The development of students’ democratic agency and mathematical proficiency are important goals in many national curricula. A prerequisite for developing students’ democratic agency is that broad student participation is secured. This is reflected both in documents defining international cooperation within education (e.g. EDC – Education for Democratic Citizenship) and in national curricula.
The affordance of opportunities for participation in classroom discourses is also considered to be important in order to develop mathematical proficiency (Kilpatrick, Swafford & Findell, 2001; Ball, 2003). Successful communication practices allow people to contribute more fully to conversations, and in the classroom environment it allows learners and teachers to challenge one another’s ideas and ask for further clarification and explanation (Hiebert et al., 1997). A central line of argument within mathematics education has been that learning mathematics provides individuals with tools to make considered choices, and that developing mathematical proficiency is beneficial because it informs human individual actions. In line with this argument, it is claimed that a mathematically literate population will contribute to society’s political, ideological and cultural maintenance and development, and as such strengthen a nation’s democratic processes (Niss, 1996).
However, on the basis of analysis of classroom practices it has been argued that student participation sometimes seems to “get in the way” of acquiring mathematical content knowledge (Emanuelsson & Sahlström, 2008), and that broad participation is most easily achieved when the cognitive demands of the lesson are low (Byhring & Klette, forthcoming).
The focus of this symposium is to discuss the challenges related to the development of both students’ mathematical proficiency and democratic participation. Five papers will discuss this issue from different angles and perspectives:
(1) Clarke, Xu & Wan (Australia) compared discourses of mathematics classrooms in different parts of the world and analysed the different assumptions that seem to guide instruction.
(2) Tainio & Laine (Finland) analysed the structure of teacher-student communication in Finnish classrooms, and the consequences of different kinds of teachers’ responses to student answers for classroom interaction and student participation.
(3) Wake (UK) examined the role that teachers play in enabling students to develop agency in their learning and use of mathematics.
(4) Sahlström (Finland) analysed how student participation and access to epistemic authority is established, sustained, and changed in mathematics classrooms.
(5) Bergem & Pepin (Norway) analysed teacher-student discourses in mathematics lessons and discussed how less cognitively-demanding tasks may inhibit meaningful mathematical reflections and discussions.
Ball, D. (2003). Mathematical Proficiency for All Students. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Emanuelsson, J. and F. Sahlström (2008). The price of participation: Teacher control versus student participation in classroom interaction. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 52(2), pp. 205-223.
Hiebert, J. et al. (1997). Making sense: Teaching and learning mathematics with understanding. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Kilpatrick, J., Swafford, J. & Findell, B. (eds.) (2001): Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Niss, M. (1996). Goals of Mathematics Teaching. In A. J. Bishop (Ed.), The International Handbook of Mathematics Education, Vol. 1. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
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Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
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Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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