Beyond the mathematics of the moment: exploring teacher discourse at the mathematical horizon

Papadaki, Evi (2022) Beyond the mathematics of the moment: exploring teacher discourse at the mathematical horizon. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The thesis aims to explore secondary mathematics teachers’ communicational actions beyond the mathematics of the moment, namely beyond the boundaries of the curriculum. Building on the Theory of Commognition (Sfard, 2008) and the construct of Discourse at the Mathematical Horizon (Cooper, 2016), I explore teachers’ patterns of communication about mathematical ideas and practices that are not predicated by curriculum guidelines. The study takes place in England with nine secondary mathematics teachers, three groups of 11 to 14-year-old students and three teacher educators. The data include sixteen lesson observations, thirteen interviews with teachers and teacher educators, and one focus group discussion with four teachers around a pilot vignette-based activity (Biza et al., 2018).
The analysis revealed taken and potential opportunities for discussions beyond the mathematics of the moment in a mathematics classroom, including: ideas and practices that run across the mathematics curriculum or which students might encounter in the future; mathematical conventions; and, applications of mathematics. Effective communication beyond the mathematics of the moment is achieved through intersubjective discursive elements between teacher and student discourses (e.g., bespoke word use and visual mediators). The findings suggest that Discourse at the Mathematical Horizon is an amalgamation of advanced mathematical and pedagogical discourses where patterns of mathematical communication are attributed pedagogical meaning. Individual teachers’ discourses are influenced by educational, personal and professional experiences, and by narratives about students’ ‘abilities’ and engagement. Thus, Discourse at the Mathematical Horizon is refined as a meta-discourse of advanced mathematics enriched with intersubjective discursive elements, atypical in advanced mathematics but relevant to the current or future experiences of the students. Finally, findings from the focus group indicate shifts in participants’ discourses. I use these findings to propose a methodological approach for creating resources for professional development and research activities to bring up discourses at the Mathematical Horizon.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2023 08:53
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2023 08:53

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