By Christine Compston
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Extra resources for A Teacher's Guide to The American Revolution: A History in Documents (Pages from History)
34) Few areas of educational research are “home grown” (curriculum studies may be one of the few), and it is typical for all communities in educational thought to draw on other disciplines. The mathematics education research community seems particularly cohesive and active, as evidenced for instance by the fact that the mathematics education group is now the largest division in the American Educational Research Association. The procedures for validating knowledge claims that have emerged in recent decades, including peer review of journal articles, conference papers, research grant applications, and doctoral thesis examinations, are becoming more flexible and the criteria more varied.
The ways in which individuals want to see themselves developing, perhaps as the classroom fool, perhaps as attractive to someone else in the classroom, perhaps as gaining praise and attention from the teacher or indirectly from their parents, leads to particular goals in the classroom and therefore particular ways of behaving and to different things being learned, certainly different from what the teacher may wish for the learners (Boaler, 2000). Winbourne (1999; see also Winbourne & Watson, 1998) has given an account of individual children’s mathematical (and other) activities that set the children in the context of the multiple social and cultural practices in which they are positioned and that influence who they are at different times in the mathematics (and every other) classroom.
It is effected by an apprenticeship into the practices of classroom mathematics that carry cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1979). The agents of the apprenticeship are the teacher and the texts, but also the acceptance or acquiescence of those students who become apprenticed. In the next three sections I examine aspects of situated theory: the need for a consideration of how subjectivities are produced in practices, as argued by Walkerdine and others; the particular nature of the practices of the mathematics classroom and the implications it has for notions of apprenticeship; and the problem of a suitable mechanism in Lave’s theory of learning (1996, p.