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Some Conceptual Metaphors for Rational Numbers as Fractions in Swedish Mathematics Textbooks for Elementary Education
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Teaching and Learning.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6381-7534
2023 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. 67, no 6, p. 914-927Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examines the presence of three conceptual metaphors for fractions – The measuring stick metaphor, Arithmetic is motion along a path, and Arithmetic is object construction – in four common and popular Swedish mathematics textbook series for years 1–3. I analyse the introduction of fractions and the kinds of tasks students are given in these books. The results show an abundance of labelling exercises related to Arithmetic is object construction, with representations of geometric shapes, in three of the book series. One book series reversely introduces fractions with The measuring stick metaphor and Arithmetic is motion along a path, with a focus on number line representations. The consequences of these variations in fraction introduction and treatment are discussed in relation to previous research and to process-object theories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 67, no 6, p. 914-927
Keywords [en]
Textbook analysis, fractions, metaphor, conceptual metaphor theory, process-object
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-209713DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2022.2114541ISI: 000853484300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85138414685OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-209713DiVA, id: diva2:1698559
Available from: 2022-09-24 Created: 2022-09-24 Last updated: 2023-10-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An important part of the whole: The role of metaphors in the teaching and learning of mathematics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An important part of the whole: The role of metaphors in the teaching and learning of mathematics
2022 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study aims to investigate the role of metaphor in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Two different studies help to fulfil this aim.

The first study involves a configurative literature review of empirical mathematics education research where two interpretations of the metaphor concept are applied: conceptual metaphor and extraneous metaphor, with the purpose of distinguishing patterns in metaphor concept use. The analysis found explicit, vague, or absent theoretical definitions of the metaphor concept as well as several metaphor examples, and generated three categories of concept use: 1) Conceptual metaphor, 2) Extraneous metaphor, and 3) Potentially conceptual/extraneous. The review stresses the need for a theoretical and empirical distinction between different types of metaphors, to sharpen the analytical tools available to researchers and, by extension, to more clearly highlight the specific function of metaphor in teachers’ classroom work.

The second study examines the presence of three conceptual metaphors as the basis for rational numbers as fractions in Swedish textbooks for years 1–3 and which aspects of fractions are distinguished in the student responses required in these books. The results are related to process-object theory (Sfard, 1991), intending to discern the different degrees of reification of the mathematical objects that hypothetically have the opportunity to develop with the help of these metaphors. The results show, in three of the book series, an abundance of labelling exercises related to the metaphor Arithmetic is object construction, mainly with images of geometric shapes. One book series reversely introduces fractions with The measuring stick metaphor and Arithmetic is motion along a path, with representations of number lines in focus. All in all, there is a significant variation between the textbooks, which could have consequences for instruction.

This thesis shows the importance of theoretically distinguishing conceptual metaphor from extraneous metaphor, and of understanding their different roles in a teaching and learning context. The thesis also shows how the conceptual metaphors underlying the mathematical concepts describe different aspects of these concepts and that several conceptual metaphors need to be taken into account, together with a consideration of different degrees of reification of the mathematical objects. In addition, the thesis shows that metaphors, as they are understood in Conceptual metaphor theory, point to similar conceptual and discursive processes that can be found in Sfard’s (1991, 2008) more established theories on mathematical conceptualisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för ämnesdidaktik, 2022
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-209718 (URN)
Presentation
2022-09-16, Svend Pedersen, Svante Arrheniusväg 20A, Stockholm, 15:31 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-09-26 Created: 2022-09-24 Last updated: 2022-09-27Bibliographically approved

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Berggren, Johannes

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