Rina Zazkis and Derek Holton
A Case Study in How Mathematics Develops
Derek Holton, Michael Thomas and Anthony Harradine
Edited by Frederick Koon Shing Leung, Kyungmee Park, Derek Holton and David Clarke
Utilizing the LPS dataset, Algebra Teaching around the World documents eighth grade algebra teaching across a variety of countries that differ geographically and culturally. Different issues in algebra teaching are reported, and different theories are used to characterize algebra lessons or to compare algebra teaching in different countries. Many commonalities in algebra teaching around the world are identified, but there are also striking and deep-rooted differences. The different ways algebra was taught in different countries point to how algebra teaching may be embedded in the culture and the general traditions of mathematics education of the countries concerned. In particular, a comparison is made between algebra lessons in the Confucian-Heritage Culture (CHC) countries and ‘Western’ countries. It seems that a common emphasis of algebra teaching in CHC countries is the ‘linkage’ or ‘coherence’ of mathematics concepts, both within an algebraic topic and between topics. On the other hand, contemporary algebra teaching in many Western school systems places increasing emphasis on the use of algebra in mathematical modeling in ‘real world’ contexts and in the instructional use of metaphors, where meaning construction is assisted by invoking contexts outside the domain of algebraic manipulation, with the intention of helping students to form connections between algebra and other aspects of their experience.