Towards a more united citizenship: Mathematical competencies as a tool against mistrust and fragmentation
This special call invites attendees to discuss utilising mathematical competencies to overcome mistrust and fragmentation. How can mathematics and mathematics education provide individuals with tools to deal with uncertainty and the challenges of the contemporary world? How can mathematics education researchers construct knowledge of mathematics learning that is inclusionary, and promotes a general understanding of data- and mathematics-based decision making? How can we use research to identify and address obstacles to mathematical competencies? Those are a few questions to open discussion on this special call. Although this call highlights some topics, all contributions to mathematics education are welcomed.
A recent report by European Council on Foreign Relations (2019) highlights the very theme of ECFR 2020: we need to navigate considerable challenges in a new, more fragmented, and polarised political environment. As data, numeracy, statistics, and mathematics in general are the basis for much of decision making in society, this fragmentation brings forth the need to secure mathematical competencies for all. Understanding the basic mechanisms by which mathematics is used in society enables individuals to filter different promoted agendas, helps to develop independent and critical thinking, and thereby advancing an agentic view of citizenship.
To help people to remain open and receptive to each other, mathematics and mathematics education should provide tools to deal with uncertainty. Solving contemporary issues, such as challenges regarding refugees, migration, economic crises, political representation, voting, and the like, demands mathematical skills: operating with inadequate understanding makes it easy for an individual to get lost amongst contradictory influences, relying on emotions instead of rational thinking. 21st Century skills that involve communication and collaboration, expertise in technology, innovative and creative thinking, and an ability to solve problems are needed to grapple with these challenges (Larson & Miller, 2011).
In addition to critical thinking, promoting equity is an important goal in itself. This is especially important in the field of mathematics, a science known globally to be exclusionary of groups such as women (Sumpter, 2016), minorities (Gutierrez, 2008) and students with disabilities (Woodward & Montague, 2000). Can we identify strategies to change that? How can we use research to make mathematics education more equal and inclusive, and promote agency through critical citizenship?
The theme proposed by EERA for our conference next year is to address the gap between different groups of people. What is our role as mathematics education researchers in answering these challenges? Can we make mathematics education respectful and inclusive at both global and local levels?
Features of the special call:
With this special call, we invite researchers and research groups from different disciplines to contribute to the above or related points of discussions, adopting a critical reflective approach. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approaches, combined with social perspectives, are especially encouraged, as well as contributions of out of school practices, school-family collaboration, and collaboration promoting curricula and assessment practices. Symposiums and proposals across networks are especially encouraged: Those interested in contributing with symposiums or roundtable proposals within this special call should contact the organizers of the special call.
Dr. PhD, Laura Tuohilampi, University of Sydney (laura.tuohilampi(at)gmail.com)
PhD student Vuslat Seker, Bogazici University, Turkey (vuslat.seker(at)boun.edu.tr)
Dennison, S., Leonard, M., Zerka, P., Coratella, T., Janning, J., Mendel- Nykorowycz, A., & Torreblanca, J. I. (2019). European Council on Foreign Relations Report: How to govern a fragmented EU: What Europeans said at the ballot box. Retrieved from www.ecfr.eu/page/-/how_to_govern_a_fragmented_eu_what_europeans_said_at_the_ballot_box.pdf
Gutiérrez, R. (2008). A "gap-gazing" fetish in mathematics education? Problematizing research on the achievement gap. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 39 (4), 357-364.
Larson, L. C., & Miller, T. N. (2011). 21st-century skills: Prepare students for the future. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 47(3), 121-123.
Sumpter, L. (2016). Investigating upper secondary school teachers’ conceptions: Is mathematical reasoning considered gendered? International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 14 (2), 347-362.
Woodward, J., & Montague, M. (2000). Meeting the challenge of mathematics reform for students with learning disabilities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children, Vancouver, Canada.