Between reality and utopia: a socio-political research agenda for mathematics education in situations of conflict and poverty

  • Valero, Paola (Project Participant)
  • Skovsmose, Ole (Project Participant)

    Project Details


    This research program addresses the everyday experience of many teachers in the world where the hardness of poverty and conflict characterize teachers’ and student’s context, which invites conceiving educational activity as a constant move between the crude and harsh reality and the utopian belief in one’s work making a difference and contributing to a better world.

    The program understands mathematic education as social and political practices. Researching such practices can bring important insight about constitutive relations between the social and political context and the mathematics teaching and learning in those contexts.

    Researching mathematic education in situations of poverty and conflict require a shift in the way we theorize, empirically document and analyze the connection between mathematics learning and its context. In particular two main ideas are challenged:

    1. The assumption that students in poverty and conflict seem to be cognitive deficient. The question then becomes how mathematic learning can be redefined as to provide a better language to gasp the conditions and characteristics of thinking in situations where continuity and progression cannot be assumed.
    2. The research literature assumes that the macro-social world enters the micro-social world of mathematics learning interactions in some kind of symbolic, fuzzy way. Instead we assume that the macro-context and all its harshness are vividly present – sometimes almost physically present – in many classrooms. Research that re-conceptualizes the impact of the macro-social world in the micro-social world is necessary.
    The program aims at developing theoretical tools and corresponding analysis strategies that allow grasping the complexity of the way in which mathematic education practices occur and gain meaning in both micro-context and macro-context and where poverty and conflict are constitutive elements of practices.
    Effective start/end date29/12/2007 → …


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