Whose Mathematics?Whose Curriculum? Morwenna Griffiths, Sheila Hamilton & Tom Macintyre University of Edinburgh
Curricular focus Exploratory study to investigate possible factors related to participation levels and success rates within mathematical studies –patterns of inclusion or exclusion?
Scottish context Guidelines and Arrangements • A Curriculum Framework for Children 3-5 • Mathematics 5-14 Guidelines • Standard Grade Arrangements (14-16) • National Qualification Arrangements (14-18) Curriculum review • A Curriculum for Excellence (ACE) • 3-18 Curriculum … beyond subjects
Whose mathematics? Functional mathematics? Abstract mathematics? Text book mathematics?
Whose Curriculum? Text books as an interpretation of the curriculum Framing the curriculum (Bernstein) Cross-curricular responsibility for Numeracy within GTCS’ Standards: 1.1.2 Registered teachers have sufficient knowledge and understanding to fulfil their responsibilities in respect of literacy and numeracy
‘Suspend your belief in the innocence of words and the transparency of language as a window on an objectively graspable reality.’ Maggie Maclure (2003) Discourse in Educational and Social Research, Open University Press.
Content analysis – a more linguistic approach Deconstruction – a more discursive approach
A provisional and constructive epistemology… using two methods, each in conversation with the other.
1: An analysis of text books Are learners able to see self or their interests represented within the text book?
2: Interviews with teacher educators 2.1 How do a range of curriculum specialists in secondary teacher education perceive mathematics and people who can do maths? 2.2 How do they see the overlap of their subject with the mathematics curriculum?
Analysis of textbooks Am I represented? Are my interests represented? Broad political categories: gender, race, social class, sexuality (LGBT), special needs Other self-identifications related to inclusion or exclusion: cool, nerdy, logical, expressive, creative, clever
Pilot study with Scottish publications for years 10-12 Nelson Blackie (Blackie-Chambers) Mathematics in Action 3B & 4B TeeJay Publishers General Maths 3G & 4G Int-2-Credit Mathematics Book 1 & Book 2
Presentation & style • Text • Spacing & style • Colour/ B&W • Language • Images • Cartoon characters • Clip Art • Photographs of real people/ artefacts
Gender Do they favour boys rather than girls? How stereotypical? Is the textbook gender neutral? Are there appropriate male and female role models? What careers/ occupations are represented?
Other identity criteria • Ethnicity • Disability • Sexual orientation • Social class
Questions for further discussion • What do the two textbooks say about appealing to young people in general across ability ranges? • Would ‘creative’ and ‘expressive’ people prefer coloured fonts and better layout? • Does clip art imagery detract the gifted and talented from the job in hand and is it viewed as tokenistic? • What part do textbooks play in overall experience of studying mathematics and ‘framing’ of the curriculum?
ART Money. Pure algebra, Pure number. Basic geometric shapes, squares, triangles Space, position and movement Space, time, Tessellations, Repeating patterns; half drop repeats, Weighing and working out the proportions Measurement, Shape and proportions
TECHNOLOGY Numbers Numerical problem solving Millimetres, centimetres Scale, dimension, form, Co-ordinates. Three dimensional co-ordinates Cycles, time Simultaneous equations Algebra Boolean algebra equations Geometry, Pythagoras, Load extensions, graphs Resolving forces, force networks Nets
PEOPLE WHO CAN DO MATHS/MATHEMATICIANS – ART Logical. Logical thinkers, perhaps absolutist. TECHNOLOGY Me because I have an engineering background people who want to understand more about the world around them. [There is] mathematics for thinkers and mathematics for doers. Vocational maths I suppose would be engineering.
Questions • Should maths textbooks make the links with other areas of the curriculum as well as with the so-called real world? • Is the emphasis on functionality missing the point? Neither art nor English are functional – but they are popular subjects.