Understanding in Mathematics

Understanding in Mathematics

Understanding in Mathematics

Understanding in Mathematics

Synopsis

The concept of understanding in mathematics with regard to mathematics education is considered in this volume. The main problem for mathematics teachers being how to facilitate their students' understanding of the mathematics being taught. In combining elements of maths, philosophy, logic, linguistics and the psychology of maths education from her own and European research, Dr Sierpinska considers the contributions of the social and cultural contexts to understanding. The outcome is an insight into both mathematics and understanding.

Excerpt

Mathematics education is 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 becoming more theoretically orientated. Vigorous new perspectives are pervading it from disciplines as diverse as psychology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, feminism, semiotics and literary criticism. The series Studies in Mathematics Education consists of research contributions to the field based on disciplined perspectives which 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 will offer new perspectives to assist in clarifying and posing problems and stimulating 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 theoretical development of mathematics education as a field of study in the 1990s.

The first book in this series was The Philosophy of Mathematics Education by Paul Ernest, which can be said to have lived up to the above description. The next volume to be published will be Mathematics, Education and Philosophy: An International Perspective, an edited collection containing chapters by Valerie Walkerdine, Dick Tahta, Brian Rotman, Sal Restivo, Thomas Tymoczko, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Reuben Hersh, Philip J. Davis, Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, David Pimm, John Mason, Paul Ernest, Leslie P. Steffe, Michael Otte, Stephen I. Brown, Anna Sfard, George Gheverghese Joseph, Paul Dowling, Stephen Lerman, and others. Exciting and powerful future volumes for the series by Barbara Jaworski, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Jeffrey Evans and Paul Dowling are in preparation, and will be published or be in press by the end of the year.

The present volume is the second in the series. In it Anna Sierpinska tackles what might truthfully be described as the central problem in mathematics education: understanding in mathematics. Her inquiry draws together strands from mathematics, philosophy, logic, linguistics, the psychology of mathematics education, and especially welcome to an English-speaking audience, continental European research. She considers the contributions of the

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