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ERIC Number: EJ780945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 49
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
When the Rules of Discourse Change, but Nobody Tells You: Making Sense of Mathematics Learning from a Commognitive Standpoint
Sfard, Anna
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v16 n4 p565-613 Oct 2007
The interpretive framework for the study of learning introduced in this article and called "commognitive" is grounded in the assumption that thinking is a form of communication and that learning mathematics is tantamount to modifying and extending one's discourse. These basic tenets lead to the conclusion that substantial discursive change, rather than being necessitated by an extradiscursive reality, is spurred by "commognitive conflict," that is, by the situation that arises whenever different interlocutors are acting according to differing discursive rules. The framework is applied in 2 studies, one of them featuring a class learning about negative numbers and the other focusing on 2 first graders learning about triangles and quadrilaterals. In both cases, the analysis of data is guided by questions about (a) features of the new mathematical discourse that set it apart from the mathematical discourse in which the students were conversant when the learning began; (b) students' and teachers' efforts toward the necessary discursive transformation; and (c) effects of the learning-teaching process, that is, the extent of discursive change actually resulting from these efforts. One of the claims corroborated by the findings is that school learning requires an active lead of an experienced interlocutor and needs to be fueled by a learning-teaching agreement between the interlocutor and the learners. (Contains 33 footnotes, 3 tables and 5 figures.)
Lawrence Erlbaum. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A