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Theorems in School

From History, Epistemology and Cognition to Classroom Practice


Edited by Paulo Boero

During the last decade, a revaluation of proof and proving within mathematics curricula was recommended; great emphasis was put on the need of developing proof-related skills since the beginning of primary school.
This book, addressing mathematics educators, teacher-trainers and teachers, is published as a contribution to the endeavour of renewing the teaching of proof (and theorems) on the basis of historical-epistemological, cognitive and didactical considerations. Authors come from eight countries and different research traditions: this fact offers a broad scientific and cultural perspective.
In this book, the historical and epistemological dimensions are dealt with by authors who look at specific research results in the history and epistemology of mathematics with an eye to crucial issues related to educational choices. Two papers deal with the relationships between curriculum choices concerning proof (and the related implicit or explicit epistemological assumptions and historical traditions) in two different school systems, and the teaching and learning of proof there.
The cognitive dimension is important in order to avoid that the didactical choices do not fit the needs and the potentialities of learners. Our choice was to firstly deal with the features of reasoning related to proof, mainly concerning the relationships between argumentation and proof.
The second part of this book concentrates on some crucial cognitive and didactical aspects of the development of proof from the early approach in primary school, to high school and university. We will show how suitable didactical proposals within appropriate educational contexts can match the great (yet, underestimated!) young students’ potentialities in approaching theorems and theories.

Making Connections

Comparing Mathematics Classrooms Around the World


Edited by David Clarke, Jonas Emanuelsson, Eva Jablonka and Ida Ah Chee Mok

In this book, comparisons are made between the practices of classrooms in a variety of different school systems around the world. The abiding challenge for classroom research is the realization of structure in diversity. The structure in this case takes the form of patterns of participation: regularities in the social practices of mathematics classrooms. The expansion of our field of view to include international rather than just local classrooms increases the diversity and heightens the challenge of the search for structure, while increasing the significance of any structures, once found. In particular, this book reports on the use of ‘lesson events’ as an entry point for the analysis of lesson structure. International research offers opportunities to study settings and characteristics untenable in the researcher’s local situation. Importantly, international comparative studies can reveal possibilities for practice that would go unrecognized within the established norms of educational practice of one country or one culture. Our capacity to conceive of alternatives to our current practice is constrained by deep-rooted assumptions, reflecting cultural and societal values that we lack the perspective to question. The comparisons made possible by international research facilitate our identification and interrogation of these assumptions. Such interrogation opens up possibilities for innovation that might not otherwise be identified, expanding the repertoire of mathematics teachers internationally, and providing the basis for theory development.

Mathematics Classrooms in Twelve Countries

The Insider's Perspective


Edited by David Clarke, Christine Keitel and Yoshinori Shimizu

This book reports the accounts of researchers investigating the eighth grade mathematics classrooms of teachers in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, The Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and the USA. This combination of countries gives good representation to different European and Asian educational traditions, affluent and less affluent school systems, and mono-cultural and multi-cultural societies. Researchers within each local group focused their analyses on those aspects of practice and meaning most closely aligned with the concerns of the local school system and the theoretical orientation of the researchers. Within any particular educational system, the possibilities for experimentation and innovation are limited by more than just methodological and ethical considerations: they are limited by our capacity to conceive possible alternatives. They are also limited by our assumptions regarding acceptable practice. These assumptions are the result of a long local history of educational practice, in which every development was a response to emergent local need and reflective of changing local values. Well-entrenched practices sublimate this history of development. The Learner’s Perspective Study is guided by a belief that we need to learn from each other. The resulting chapters offer deeply situated insights into the practices of mathematics classrooms in twelve countries: an insider’s perspective.