Teachers\' practical rationality of mathematics teaching and policymaker rhetoric about mathematics as reasoning and mathematical relationships

  • M F Gierdien


This article reports on a comparison between, on the one hand, what is called the `practical rationality of mathematics teaching\' of a small selection of teachers in the Western Cape and, on the other, education policy statements on `mathematics as reasoning\' and `mathematical relationships\' in Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences ± the mathematics component during the mid-1990s of the South African government\'s Curriculum 2005. The article is a theoretical and practical improvement on an original study, which compared contact points between the ways teachers speak and the ways policymakers write about school mathematics reform. The improvement is centred on a consideration of mathematics teaching as a practice and the way that teachers learn in such a practice. Conversations during interviews with the teachers in the sample indicate that SchoÈn\'s notion of reflection-in-action is a key to understanding how teachers use their practical rationality as they try to understand nuanced meanings of the `kind\' of mathematics teaching with respect to policy statements on mathematics as reasoning and mathematical relationships. Results of the study have practical and theoretical implications for the education of teachers of mathematics.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 21 (3) 2007: pp. 457-472

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