Investigating Mathematics Teaching: A Constructivist Enquiry

By Barbara Jaworski | Go to book overview

Preface by Series Editor

Mathematics education is now established worldwide as a major area of study, with numerous dedicated journals and conferences serving national and international communities of scholars. Research in mathematics education is also becoming more theoretically orientated. Vigorous new perspectives are pervading it from disciplines and fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, logic, sociology, anthropology, history, feminism, cognitive science, semiotics, hermeneutics, post-structuralism and post-modernism. The series Studies in Mathematics Education consists of research contributions to the field based on disciplined perspectives that link theory with practice. It is founded on the philosophy that theory is the practitioner’s most powerful tool in understanding and changing practice. Whether the practice is mathematics teaching, teacher education, or educational research, the series intends to offer new perspectives to assist in clarifying and posing problems and to stimulate debate. The series Studies in Mathematics Education will encourage the development and dissemination of theoretical perspectives in mathematics education as well as their critical scrutiny. It aims to have a major impact on the development of mathematics education as a field of study into the twenty-first century.

The present volume is the fifth in the series. In it Barbara Jaworski describes her personal enquiry into mathematics teaching. It addresses a number of questions that are central to research in mathematics education today: What does an investigational or enquiry classroom look like? What does constructivism mean in practice? What impact does researching a teacher’s classroom have on the teacher’s beliefs and practices? How are theory, research and reflective practice interconnected? How does the researcher grow and change through engaging in classroom research? This last question indicates the particular strength of Barbara Jaworski’s account. She attempts to honestly but critically chart her own developing ideas as she undertakes a several-year-long enquiry into mathematics teaching. She succeeds admirably in giving a personal account of her developing conceptions, her conjectures, thoughts and reflections, as they develop and complexify. She also reveals how she grapples with and appropriates and develops theory over the course of her enquiry, with a candour that few of us would dare to emulate in public.

Teachers writing their dissertations often want to follow the chronology of their research in their accounts, thus telling a personal truth but at cost to the logic of justification of their overall inquiry. Barbara accounts for her research genetically and biographically, but succeeds in simultaneously reconstructing the

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