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Knowledge and writing in school mathematics: a communicational approach
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Mathematics Education. Örebro universitet, Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0386-1482
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about young students’ writing in school mathematics and the ways in which this writing is designed, interpreted and understood. Students’ communication can act as a source from which teachers can make inferences regarding students’ mathematical knowledge and understanding. In mathematics education previous research indicates that teachers assume that the process of interpreting and judging students’ writing is unproblematic. The relationship between what students’ write, and what they know or understand, is theoretical as well as empirical. In an era of increased focus on assessment and measurement in education it is necessary for teachers to know more about the relationship between communication and achievement. To add to this knowledge, the thesis has adopted a broad approach, and the thesis consists of four studies. The aim of these studies is to reach a deep understanding of writing in school mathematics. Such an understanding is dependent on examining different aspects of writing. The four studies together examine how the concept of communication is described in authoritative texts, how students’ writing is viewed by teachers and how students make use of different communicational resources in their writing. The results of the four studies indicate that students’ writing is more complex than is acknowledged by teachers and authoritative texts in mathematics education. Results point to a sophistication in students’ approach to the merging of the two functions of writing, writing for oneself and writing for others. Results also suggest that students attend, to various extents, to questions regarding how, what and for whom they are writing in school mathematics. The relationship between writing and achievement is dependent on students’ ability to have their writing reflect their knowledge and on teachers’ thorough knowledge of the different features of writing and their awareness of its complexity. From a communicational perspective the ability to communicate [in writing] in mathematics can and should be distinguished from other mathematical abilities. By acknowledging that mathematical communication integrates mathematical language and natural language, teachers have an opportunity to turn writing in mathematics into an object of learning. This offers teachers the potential to add to their assessment literacy and offers students the potential to develop their communicational ability in order to write in a way that better reflects their mathematical knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2016. , 129 p.
Keyword [en]
Mathematics, Writing, Students, Assessment, Communication
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23717ISBN: 978-91-7529-156-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-23717DiVA: diva2:1059464
Public defence
2016-10-07, Högskolan Dalarna, F ö 6, Högskolegatan 2, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-12-22 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Different modes in teachers' discussions of students' mathematical texts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Different modes in teachers' discussions of students' mathematical texts
2015 (English)In: Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, ISSN 0742-051X, E-ISSN 1879-2480, Vol. 51, 68-76 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study aims to examine elementary school mathematics teachers' ways of discussing students' mathematical texts. Nineteen teachers were interviewed in groups and asked to discuss 15 texts. The object of study is the teachers' collective discussions, analyzed using a discourse analytic approach. Findings indicate that two different modes are visible in the discussions: a pedagogical mode, connected to the teachers' position as pedagogues and where identification of students' strategies is foregrounded, and an assessment mode, connected to the teachers' position as examiners, in which a deficiency perspective is adopted that views particular features as 'missing' from the texts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keyword
Mathematical texts; Teachers' assessment practices; Mathematical communication; Elementary teachers
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-18105 (URN)10.1016/j.tate.2015.06.002 (DOI)000361408900007 ()
Available from: 2015-06-21 Created: 2015-06-21 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved
2. How young students communicate their mathematical problem solving in writing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How young students communicate their mathematical problem solving in writing
2017 (English)In: International journal of mathematical education in science and technology, ISSN 0020-739X, E-ISSN 1464-5211, Vol. 48, no 4, 555-572 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study investigates young students’ writing in connection to mathematical problem solving. Students’ written communication has traditionally been used by mathematics teachers in the assessment of students’ mathematical knowledge. This study rests on the notion that this writing represents a particular activity which requires a complex set of resources. In order to help students develop their writing, teachers need to have a thorough knowledge of mathematical writing and its distinctive features. The study aims to add to the body of knowledge about writing in school mathematics by investigating young students’ mathematical writing from a communicational, rather than mathematical, perspective. A basic inventory of the communicational choices, that are identifiable across a sample of 519 mathematical texts, produced by 9–12 year old students, is created. The texts have been analysed with multimodal discourse analysis, and the findings suggest diversity in students’ use of images, words, numerals, symbols and layout to organize their texts and to represent their problem-solving process along with an answer to the problem. The inventory and the indication that students have different ideas on how, what, for whom and why they should be writing, can be used by teachers to initiate discussions of what may constitute good communication. 

Keyword
communication, Mathematics, problem solving, students
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-23596 (URN)10.1080/0020739X.2016.1256447 (DOI)2-s2.0-84999663670 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2016-12-16 Created: 2016-12-16 Last updated: 2017-06-05Bibliographically approved

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