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Re-rooting the learning space : minding where children’s mathematics grow Thom, Jennifer S.

Abstract

This disquisition presents a qualitative study that investigated the complicit nature of theory and practice in mathematics teaching. Situated within an ecological perspective, this research interrogates the role that theory plays as a cognizing domain in which one's pedagogy of teaching mathematics co-exists and co-evolves. A systemic exploration of mathematics and the teaching and learning of it is conducted and assessed against tenets of complexity, sustainability, languaging, co-emergence, integration, and recursion. This study reveals the impact that theoretical discourses have on the kind of place and the forms of mathematics that are enabled and disabled through the metaphors, perceptions of mathematical understanding, and conceptions of time that are embodied and enacted by the teacher and her students. This research involved the explication of the teacher's assumed theoretical and practical patterns of teaching mathematics. The expressive forms in which this disquisition is written provide interpretive snapshots that document the teacher's conceptual journey from that of a heavily mechanistic, linear, and hierarchical mindset towards the development of an ecologically coherent theoretical domain for teaching. The classroom vignettes of the teacher, another teacher with whom she collaborated, and the second and third grade students span a course of two and half school years. These vignettes focus on the teacher's work in occasioning ecological forms of teaching, learning, and mathematics in the classroom. The analysis of these episodes revealed stark differences from that of her previous teaching practice not only in the nature of the students' understandings, their ways of acting and being mathematical but also, in the kinds of mathematics that arose during the lessons.

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