“Not like a big gap, something we could handle”: Facilitating shifts in paradigm in the supervision of mathematics graduates upon entry into mathematics education

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Mathematics is the discipline that a significant majority of most incoming researchers in mathematics education have prior qualifications and experience in. Upon entry into the field of mathematics education research, these newcomers–often students on a postgraduate programme in mathematics education–need a broadened understanding on how to read, converse, write and conduct research in the largely unfamiliar territory of mathematics education. The intervention into the practices of post-graduate teaching and supervision in the field of mathematics education that I describe here aims at fostering this broadened understanding and thus facilitating newcomers’ participation in the practices of the mathematics education research community. Here I outline the theoretical underpinnings of the intervention and exemplify one of its parts (an Activity Set designed to facilitate incoming students’ engagement with the mathematics education research literature). I supplement the discussion of the intervention with comments sampled from student interview and student written evaluation data as well as observations of the activities’ implementation. The main themes touched upon include: learning how to identify appropriate mathematics education literature; reading increasingly more complex writings in mathematics education; coping with the complexity of literate mathematics education discourse; working towards a contextualised understanding of literate mathematics education discourse. I conclude with indicating the directions that the intervention, and its evaluation, is currently taking and a brief discussion of broader implications, theoretical as well as concerning the supervision and teaching of post-graduate students in mathematics education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-156
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education
Issue number1
Early online date23 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Post-graduate studies in mathematics education
  • supervisory practices
  • epistemological shifts
  • transition

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