The Advance and Consolidation of Research on Mathematics
Education and Society
It is 10 years since the first conference of Mathematics
Education and Society that was held in Nottingham. Between then
and now, there have been three MES Conferences – in Portugal,
Denmark and Australia. Organisers of each of the past MES
Conferences have been invited to reflect on how the Conferences
have influenced and shaped questions and directions of research
in mathematics education and society, and what they see as some
of the goals for us in this Conference.
Panelists: Peter Gates, Nottingham University, UK; Candia
Morgan, Institute of Education - University of London, UK; Joao Filipe
Matos, University of Lisbon, Portugal; Paola Valero, Aalborg
Moderator: Keiko Yasukawa, University of Technology Sydney,
"Reinventing" Freire: Mathematics Education for Social
Eric Gutstein, University of Illinois-Chicago, USA.
For Paulo Freire, education was a necessary part of the
political process of changing society. Mathematics education can
play that role, supporting young people to read and write their
worlds with mathematics as a key analytical means. In urban
Chicago, our mathematics work in a social-justice-oriented high
school of low-income African American and Latino students
attempts to reclaim Freire’s purpose. In this paper, I describe
our praxis - teaching, learning, and research in mathematics
education which involves teachers and the students themselves in
collaborative efforts. We focus on preparing both the youth and
adults to participate in social movements and political change.
Reactor: Alexandre Pais, Universidad de Lisboa, Portugal.
Reinventing school?: Reaction to Eric Gutstein's "Reinventing
Freire: Mathematics education for social transformation". [pdf]
Reactors: Maria do Carmo Domite and Valeria Carvalho.
Describing teacher change: Interactions between teacher
moves and learner contributions
Karin Brodie, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa.
This paper focuses on a teacher’s changing practice in the
context of curriculum change in South Africa. The teacher taught
in a low socio-economic status school and worked to engage and
develop learners’ mathematical reasoning. Using a range of
analytic tools, I show that his pedagogy was responsive to
learners and enacted a number of key aspects of the new
curriculum. At the same time he maintained a number of
‘traditional’ practices and there were strong continuities in
his teaching across ‘traditional’ and ‘reform’ contexts. The
paper shows that a key issue for teaching in this classroom was
learners’ very weak mathematical knowledge, which was made
visible by the teacher’s approaches and which simultaneously
constrained his teaching. The paper argues for complexifying our
notions of teacher change, and that issues such as the
interaction between learner knowledge and pedagogy be taken into
account if we are not to exacerbate existing divides among rich
and poor contexts. [pdf]
Reactor: Margarida Belchior, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
Making sense of Mr. Peter classroom. [pdf]
Reactor: Eva Jablonka.
The future of MES
Equity-in-Quality: Towards a Theoretical Framework
Murad Jurdak, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
The paper addresses the concepts of equity and quality as they
apply to mathematics education and argues that the two concepts
of equity and quality are interdependent and are only
meaningfully understood in a specific socio-cultural context.
The paper argues that meaningful comparisons across different
socio-cultural contexts can be achieved by focusing on the
relationships of the two concepts to each other and to
contextual factors. To underline the interdependence of equity
and quality and their relationships to contextual factors the
paper introduces a framework based on activity theory and
activity system as developed by Engeström. The last part of the
paper uses data from TIMSS 2003 to demonstrate empirically the
relationship between equity and quality, and their relations to
contextual factors. [pdf]
Reactor: Elizabeth de Freitas, Adelphi University. Response
to: Equity-in- quality: Towards a theoretical framework. [pdf]
Reactor: Arthur Powell.
Order of the World or Order of the Social. Conceptions of
Mathematics and Their Importance to Mathematics Education
Ole Ravn Christensen, Aalborg University, Denmark.
In this article the connection between the philosophy of
mathematics and mathematics education is discussed. Special
focus is on the implications of different conceptions of the
nature and importance of mathematics. The argument will be made
that the later Wittgenstein presents us with an unreservedly
social interpretation of mathematics that favours a certain
direction for our research on mathematics education. According
to this interpretation, mathematics could be considered to be
constituted exclusively in complex social processes, in which
case any conception of it mirroring a pre-existing world of
mathematical objects is rejected. To contrast with the
Wittgensteinian position, a Platonist position is presented and
the two philosophical positions are discussed in relation to
their significance for mathematics education. [pdf]
Reactor: Uwe Gellert, Freie Universität Berlin. Wittgenstein
in support of a social agenda in mathematics education: Reaction
to Ole Ravn Christensen. [pdf]
Reactor: Dimitris Chassapis, Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki. Dancing a Viennese waltz to Wittgenstein's notes:
A reaction to Ole Ravn Christensen's address. [pdf]
The future of MES
Closing Plenary Panel
The four plenary speakers will engage in a final discussion
about the main issues highlighted during the conference as a way
of concluding and closing the event.
Panelists: Eric Gutstein, University of Illinois-Chicago,
USA; Karin Brodie, University of Witswatersrand, South Africa;
Murad Jurdak, American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Ole Ravn
Christensen, Aalborg University, Denmark.
Moderator: Stephen Lerman.