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Mathematical Subjects: Children Talk About Their Mathematics Lives

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9781441905987: Mathematical Subjects: Children Talk About Their Mathematics Lives
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Teaching and learning mathematics is a political act in which children, teachers, parents, and policy makers are made visible as subjects. As they learn about mathematics, children are also learning about themselves – who they are, who they might become. We can choose to listen or not to what children have to say about learning mathematics. Such choices constitute us in relations of power. Mathematical know-how is widely regarded as essential not only to the life chances of individuals, but also to the health of communities and the economic well-being of nations. With the globalisation of education in an increasingly market-oriented world, mathematics has received intensified attention in the first decade of the twenty-first century with a shifting emphasis on utilitarian aspects of mathematics. This is reflected in the reconceptualisation of mathematical competence as mathematical literacy, loosely conceived as those ways of thinking, reasoning and working “mathematically” that allow us to engage effectively in everyday situations, in many occupations, and the cut and thrust of world economies as active, empowered and participatory citizens. It is no surprise then that mathematics has become one of the most politically charged subjects in primary school curricula worldwide. We are experiencing an unprecedented proliferation of regional and national strategies to establish benchmarks, raise standards, enhance achievement, close gaps, and leave no child behind in mathematics education. Industries have sprung up around the design, administration and monitoring of standardised assessment to measure and compare children’s mathematical achievement against identified benchmarks and each other.

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We know the process by which children become social, moral, and creative beings, but when―and how―do they become mathematical beings? This thought-provoking volume follows ten children (ages seven through eighteen) in schools in New Zealand, England, Australia, Sweden, and an international school in Switzerland as they come to recognize the mathematical as part of their lives, their academic identities, and their identities as human beings. Through these students’ experiences important themes emerge, including mathematics as work, a domain of learning, and an avenue for competition; mathematical ability as a key to how they are perceived by others; and the relationships between mathematics achievement and the larger social and academic picture. This comparative study of educational systems and academic development will inform readers in these and other salient areas:

  • Theoretical bases for understanding children as mathematical subjects.
  • Help in creating the mathematical self: tutoring and related programs.
  • The roles of compulsory study and standardized assessment.
  • Class and ethnic content in children’s math narratives.
  • The gendering of mathematical ability and activity.
  • What children’s math experience can teach us about teaching the subject.

Children Talk about Their Mathematics Lives opens bold windows onto how young people learn and how disparities arise, making it a cutting-edge resource for researchers and libraries, graduates and teachers in mathematics education and early childhood education.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781441905963: Mathematical Subjects: Children Talk About Their Mathematics Lives

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  ISBN 13:  9781441905963
Publisher: Springer, 2009

9781489983732: Mathematical Subjects: Children Talk About Their Mathematics Lives

Springer, 2014