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ERIC Number: ED462135
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Sep-1
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Children's Mathematical Narratives as Learning Stories.
Burton, Leone
When left to their own devices, children are natural story tellers and they practice story telling in every aspect of their learning, including mathematics. The ways in which young children's mathematics learning is constrained distorts the potential for the kinds of experiences that can feed their narratives and help them to make sense of the narrative as well as shift them toward more conventional narratives. Teaching paradigmatic mathematics in the absence of either children's need to know or connections to their learning style is evidence of a need for changing the way mathematics is taught in the classroom. In addition, evidence suggests that research mathematicians use the very narrative strategies that are identified as productive for young children's learning. The current paradigm of learning mathematics fails to distinguish between knowing and knowledge and between the construction of narrative and its formalization and results in children finding mathematics unpalatable and unacceptable. An alternative narrative perspective on mathematics, consistent with approaches to the learning of other disciplines, enables the learner to inhabit and make sense of the mathematical world that they are entering. This approach treats early learning as a research practice in which story telling, the construction of convincing narratives, is key. Transcriptions of young children's social interaction and discourse provide evidence of children behaving in four ways which contribute to their mathematics learning: authoring, sense-making, collaborating, and using nonverbal narratives. Children's narratives can further provide information for teachers regarding their mathematical development. In classrooms where such information is valued and encouraged, and where learners are expected to reflect, and make and justify their inferences and deductions, the children freely identify their own understandings. (Contains 14 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A