ERIC Number: EJ1036714
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
Towards a Theory of Mathematics Homework as a Social Practice
Landers, Mara G.
Educational Studies in Mathematics, v84 n3 p371-391 Nov 2013
This article presents a theoretical conceptualization of mathematics homework as a social practice. Rather than considering homework as a task or an artifact, this approach frames homework in terms of the social contexts in which students participate and how students participate in those contexts. This perspective has long been suggested by homework researchers but has not been developed as a framework for understanding homework. Drawing from Wenger's (1998) social theory of learning and research grounded in sociocultural theory, this conceptualization makes central meaning making and identity development, and puts forth meaning and identity as lenses for understanding students' participation in the practice of mathematics homework. To further develop this conceptualization of homework, I draw on data from an ethnographic study of the role and meaning of mathematics homework in the lives of middle school students. Case studies of two students are presented to demonstrate the relationships among the meaning of homework, students' identities, and their participation in the practice of homework. One student's experiences support him in identifying as a capable mathematics student who is bound for continued academic success through high school to college. Thus, he comes to take on mathematics homework as a means to learn and succeed. The other student's experiences support him in building an identity that leads him to reject homework. This conceptualization of homework and the case study data have implications for the practice of homework and for theories of students' motivational dispositions in the context of mathematics homework and learning in general.
Descriptors: Mathematics, Homework, Social Environment, Social Theories, Learning Theories, Ethnography, Middle School Students, Case Studies, Student Experience, Student Motivation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A