ERIC Number: ED474744
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Mar
Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Rural Contexts: A Social Systems Perspective. Working Paper.
Arnold, Michael L.
Mathematics education is different in rural schools than in non-rural schools. An explanation for this can be found in an open social systems model of schools, in which schools are comprised of interdependent subsystems that function together to transform inputs into outcomes. These are open systems in that external forces in the environment beyond the school influence the internal components of the school, and the school affects the environment in a reciprocal relationship. At the heart of the school is the technical core where the school converts inputs (human resources) into outcomes. This process involves four subsystems. The structural system comprises the organizational hierarchy and the bureaucratic rules and regulations that organize the work of teachers, administrators, and other staff. The political system represents the informal power relationships that occur within schools and can have significant influence on the workings of the organization. The individual system consists of the beliefs and needs of individuals within the system, while the cultural system represents the shared beliefs and expectations of system participants. Characteristics of each subsystem are presented along with research questions relevant to mathematics education in rural schools. Paying attention to all parts of the social system will increase the chances of success for teachers, students, and society as a whole, whereas restricting the focus of improvement to changes in the technical core will slow the amount of time in which change will materialize. (Contains 25 references.) (TD)
Descriptors: Administrative Organization, Context Effect, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Institutional Environment, Mathematics Education, Models, Politics of Education, Relevance (Education), Research Needs, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, School Culture, Systems Approach, Teacher Effectiveness
For full text: http://kant.citl.ohiou.edu/ACCLAIM/rc/rc_sub/pub/3_wp/Arnold5.pdf.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: Ohio Univ., Athens. Appalachian Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics.