How humanism can foster mediocrity in early years mathematics education: a poststructuralist comparison

Klein, Mary (2008) How humanism can foster mediocrity in early years mathematics education: a poststructuralist comparison. In: 31st Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (1), pp. 311-316. From: Navigating currents and charting directions, 28 June - 1 July 2008, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

In this paper I argue that humanist understandings of learners can underscore mediocrity in mathematics learning in the early years. Although many children come to school ready and eager to learn mathematics, it can happen that their classroom experiences alienate and disenfranchise them. This sometimes occurs when teachers, deferring to humanist understandings of learners as naturally capable and competent and learning as experiential, teach little mathematics but concentrate on fashioning the learning environment to supposedly make it non-threatening, ‘enjoyable’ and ‘relevant’. In contrast I use the poststructuralist notions of positioning and subjectification to suggest that learners can not be positively positioned in the discourse of mathematics education if they are not given the opportunity to construct robust mathematics and generative and idiosyncratic ways of thinking and reasoning in mathematics.

Item ID: 7525
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: early childhood; humanism; mathematics education
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ISBN: 978-1-920846-18-9
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2010 01:51
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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