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ERIC Number: EJ1090399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1479-4802
Social Inequalities, Meta-Awareness and Literacy in Mathematics Education
Kleve, Bodil
Research in Mathematics Education, v15 n2 p197-198 2013
Pupils start school with different prior understandings about its activities and goals. They have different experiences with books, literature and calculation, and different affinities in relation to letters and numbers. These prior understandings, which encompass experiences, language, habits, affinities and feelings, constitute what Gee (2003) calls their "primary Discourse". The primary Discourse is a "value Discourse" constituting our first social identity. It may, or may not, support school activities. Secondary Discourses are those to which we are apprenticed as part of a process of socialisation, for example schools. Some pupils feel comfortable at school because of a match with their primary Discourse, while for others school may be more or less foreign. Taking social inequalities and pupils' different learning possibilities as a result of their social background as a starting point, the author considers mathematics on three levels: "the level of Discourse", which primarily encompasses cultural relations and communities of meanings in school; "the level of genre", which in mathematics concerns, for example, graphs, definitions, proofs, equations, and statistics; and "the level of paradigmatic versus syntagmatic modes of thought" (Bruner 1996). The author argues that meta-awareness should not be reserved for those whose social background, or "value Discourse" supports school activities. To decrease the school's reinforcement of social inequalities, teaching should be based on learning which leads to meta-awareness rather than assuming simple acquisition. On the level of Discourse, the author suggests that the only way pupils can become party to implicit knowledge is through explicit awareness of mathematics as a secondary Discourse. The teacher plays a crucial role in this work. Also, the author considers it important that "weak" pupils should not only be presented with mathematics embedded within everyday discourse, because then they will not gain the desired access to the subject. On the level of genre, it is important for teachers to be explicit about their use of different genres and to help pupils establish sufficient pre-understanding.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Norway
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A