Mathematics undergraduates, and their lecturers, often describe the transition into university mathematics as a process of enculturation into new mathematical practices and new ways of constructing and conveying mathematical meaning (Nardi, 1996). Whatcharacterises the breadth and intensity of this enculturation varies according to factors such as (Artigue, Kent & Batanero, 2007): student background and preparedness for university level studies of mathematics; the aims and scope of each of the courses that thestudents take in the early days of their arrival at university; how distant the pedagogical approaches taken in these courses are from those taken in the secondary schools that the students come from; the students’ affective dispositions towards the subject and their expectations for what role mathematics is expected to play in their professional life. On their part, lecturers’ views on their pedagogical role may also vary according to factors such as (Nardi, 2008): length of teaching experience; type of courses (pure, applied, optional, compulsory etc.) they teach; perceptions of the goals of university mathematics teaching (such as to facilitate access to the widest possible population of participants in mathematics or select those likely to push the frontiers of the discipline); and, crucially, institutional access to innovative practices, e.g. through funded, encouraged and acknowledged research into such practices.In this paper I draw on my experiences as a member of the International Advisory Board of the LUMOS project (Barton & Paterson, 2013) to comment on aspects of aforementioned student enculturation. Here I see this enculturation as the adaptation of different ways to act and communicate mathematically. I take a perspective on these ways to act and communicate as discourses and I treat the changes to the mathematical and pedagogical perspectives of those who act as discursive shifts. To this purpose, I deploythe approach introduced by Anna Sfard (2008) and known as the commognitive approach.
|Specialist publication||CULMS Newsletter|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2014|