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Edited by Erkki Pehkonen, Maija Ahtee and Jari Lavonen

The Finnish students’success in the first PISA 2000 evaluation was a surprise to most of the Finns, and even people working in teacher education and educational administration had difficulties to believe that this situation would continue. Finland’s second success in the next PISA 2003 comparison has been very pleasing for teachers and teacher educators, and for education policymakers. The good results on the second time waked us to think seriously on possible reasons for the success. Several international journalists and expert delegations from different countries have asked these reasons while visiting in Finland. Since we had no commonly acceptable explanation to students’success, we decided at the University of Helsinki to put together a book “How Finns Learn Mathematics and Science?”, in order to give a commonly acceptable explanation to our students’success in the international PISA evaluations. The book tries to explain the Finnish teacher education and school system as well as Finnish children’s learning environment at the level of the comprehensive school, and thus give explanations for the Finnish PISA success. The book is a joint enterprise of Finnish teacher educators. The explanations for success given by altogether 40 authors can be classified into three groups: Teacher and teacher education, school and curriculum, and other factors, like the use of ICT and a developmental project LUMA. The main result is that there is not one clear explanation, although research-based teacher education seems to have some influence. But the true explanation may be a combination of several factors.

How should I know?

Preservice Teachers' Images of Knowing (by Heart ) in Mathematics and Science


Kathleen T. Nolan

Elementary preservice teachers’school experiences of mathematics and science have shaped their images of knowing, including what counts as knowledge and what it means to know (in) mathematics and science. In this book, preservice teachers’ voices challenge the hegemony of official everyday narratives relating to these images.
The book is written as a parody of a physical science textbook on the topic of light, presenting a kaleidoscope of elementary preservice teachers’ narratives of knowing (in) mathematics and science. These narratives are tied together by the metaphorical thread of the properties of light, but also held apart by the tensions and contradictions with/in such a critical epistemological exploration. Through a postmodern lens, the only grand narrative that could be imag(in)ed for this text is one in which the personal lived experience narratives of the participants mingle and interweave to create a sort of kaleidoscope of narratives. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, light’s reflection engenders new patterns and emergent designs. The narratives of this research text highlight patterns of exclusion, gendered messages, binary oppositions, and the particle nature and shadowy texture of knowing (in) mathematics and science. The presentation format of the book emphasizes the reflexive and polyphonic nature of the research design, illustrated through layers of spoken text with/in performative text with/in metaphorical text.
The metaphor of a kaleidoscope is an empowering possibility for a critical narrative written to both engage and provoke the reader into imag(in)ing a critical journey toward possibilities for a different “knowing by heart” in mathematics and science and for appreciating lived experience narratives with/in teacher education.

Travelling Through Education

Uncertainty, Mathematics, Responsibility

Ole Skovsmose

This is a personal notebook from a conceptual travel. But, in a different sense, it also represents a report on travelling. The main part of the manuscript was written in Brazil, Denmark and England, whilst notes have also been inspired by visits to other countries. So, the book not only represents conceptual travel, it also reflects seasons of real travelling. In Part 1, the book comments on the critical position of mathematics education, and also indicates some concerns of critical mathematics education. Part 2 comments on mathematics in action, and considers the discussion of mathematics as an applied discipline in the contexts of technology, management, engineering, economics, etc. In Part 3, the book comments on mathematics and science in general. These comments are then generalised into a discussion of ‘reason’ and of the ‘apparatus of reason’. Finally, Part 4 returns to the discussion of mathematics education, and comments on notions that could become ‘sensitive’ to the critical position of mathematics education. Ole Skovsmose is also travelling between different academic fields. He touches upon mathematics and mathematics education, the philosophy of mathematics, technology and science, as well as sociological issues, glancing over issues such as globalisation, ghettoising, learning society, and risk society.
Travelling with the author, the reader will become aware of connections between many of these different issues.