What you will study
This module develops ways of exploring and examining mathematics learning at all levels, in a general context of research writing and reflection on mathematics education. It is a module in mathematics education, not in mathematics. It deals with identifying and exploring styles of task and their role in learning and teaching mathematics; aspects of apparatus and technology; working on transitions from sensitive teaching to professional development to research into your own or others' classroom situations and practices.
The aims of the module are to:
- increase your awareness and knowledge of research work in mathematics education as a discipline, and how it might impinge on teaching and learning mathematics
- enable you to reflect in depth on aspects of mathematics learning, including your own
- enable you to examine critically established views about existing practice, and to engage with, interpret and assess research evidence on mathematics teaching and learning
- enable you to carry out some exploratory personal research related to mathematics learning.
The module is in four sections plus a project. You are guided through each section by the study guide, which includes structured tasks with comments. Each section draws on the other study materials: one book on task and activity, two readers, a set book, audio material on CD and articles on the internet.
Block 0: Introduction to research
You begin by working on your mathematical autobiography. There is guidance to help you in reading and interpreting published writings in mathematics education.
Block 1: Noticing
You begin to develop skills in noticing details and formulating questions about teaching and learning in mathematics classrooms.
Block 2: Topics, tasks and activities and Block 3: Dimensions of interaction
Two central parts of teaching mathematics are providing mathematical tasks to generate pupils' activity, and asking questions both to find out what pupils have done and to explore and focus their activity. The middle blocks of the module examine these aspects in detail.
Block 4: Probing and being sceptical
The final block reviews the module, so that you can explore further the readings and ideas that have influenced you most. It also looks outwards at aspects of the social and political context of school mathematics education.
The module includes material on exploring the range of researchable possibilities; making records, including transcribing and analysing classroom scenarios and interviews using audio files; ‘commonplaces’ in mathematics teaching; the language of mathematics education writing; finding out in mathematics education.
Successful study of this module should enhance your skills in communicating mathematical ideas clearly and succinctly, explaining mathematical ideas to others, understanding complex mathematics education texts and analysing and interpreting critically research data and findings.