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Social foundations of the mathematics curriculum: a rationale for change

Nickson, M T; (1982) Social foundations of the mathematics curriculum: a rationale for change. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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The nature of educational aims as criteria for worthwhile curriculum practice is explored and a cross-section of aims for mathematics education is discussed. An aim for mathematics education which emphasises the social aspect of the subject in its being, its conduct and its applications is identified and epistemological foundations for such a view of the nature of the subject are explored. It is argued that such an epistemological perspective of mathematics would be reflected in the social context of the mathematics classroom, arising from a methodology in which the subject would become more problematic and open to change, investigation and hypothesis. The aims of two major mathematics curriculum development projects (the Nuffield Mathematics Project and the School Mathematics Project) are examined to determine the extent to which their aims may take the 'social' nature of mathematics into account. The probable social context of mathematics classrooms using their materials is postulated in an attempt to characterise the nature of the subject as it is reflected in these materials. A view of the nature of mathematics held by practising teachers and by pupils is then established by drawing upon, and extrapolating from, evidence relating to the social context of mathematics classrooms at primary and secondary level. Conclusions follow, which suggest that fundamental change in mathematics education requires, as a first step, the adoption of a new epistemological perspective of the subject in order that the pursuit of the aim which emphasises the social nature of mathematics is achieved. It is suggested that this, in turn, ultimately could lead to the desired balance in the mathematics curriculum which hitherto has been lacking.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Social foundations of the mathematics curriculum: a rationale for change
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=9&uin=uk.bl...
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: PhD CURR University of London Institute of Education, 1982.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10019484
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