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Jana Visnovska: Lost between structure and calculation ability


Datum: torsdag 18 november 2021

Tid: 13.15 – 14.30

Plats: via zoom, se zoomlänk nedan

MERS, Mathematics Education Research Seminar - högre seminarium i matematikämnets didaktik, öppet seminarium för alla intresserade.


Docent Jana Visnovska är universitetslektor i matematikämnets didaktik vid University of Queensland i Australien.


Lost between structure and calculation ability: Towards elementary mathematics education as a cultivation of human need for understanding

The shape of mathematics curricula has historically been determined by considerations of what mathematics is and which parts of it should be learned in school. These determinations, along with positioning of the field as part of the learning sciences, fuelled our research efforts at understanding how individuals come to know specific mathematics, in hopes that such insights will be leveraged by both mathematics teachers and resource developers, for the benefit of students. When judging by the statistics on (mostly the lack of) mathematical skills and positive attitudes, the success of these efforts has been rather unremarkable.  

In my presentation, I will explore some of the dichotomies that were (and are) at the centre of the curriculum debates, and illustrate how the rhetoric of these dichotomies tends to sidestep the considerations of the affordances and constraints of how mathematical activities get constituted in the collective classroom settings. In particular, I bring attention to how the lack of harnessing the need for understanding of quantitative phenomena has been characteristic of elementary curricula, and directly responsible for students’ difficulties with making sense of multiplicative ideas such as fractions and proportion. I argue that to make a dent in the problems that matter in mathematics education, we might need to explore whether our repertoires of research questions and conceptual tools are suitable for such a job.