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Flerspråkiga matematikklassrum: Diskurser i grundskolans matematikundervisning
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Multilingual Mathematics Classrooms : Discourses in Compulsory School in Sweden (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to investigate and analyze practices in multilingual mathematics classrooms in compulsory school in Sweden. By using ethnographic methods, mainly participant observation, data were collected in a number of multilingual mathematics classrooms in suburban areas of a major city. The data include field notes, interviews and informal conversations with students, teachers and school administrators. The analysis is based on a coordination of Foucault’s discourse theory and Skovsmose’s critical mathematics education. The socio-political viewpoint defines power as relational and as having an effect on school mathematics practices. Discourse, agency, foreground and identity are used as analytic tools. In five articles, the thesis investigates how the various discourses affect multilingual students’ agency, foreground and identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. The effects of students’ and teachers’ agency on discourse switching in multilingual mathematics classrooms are also investigated. The findings indicate that bilingual communication in the mathematics classroom enhances students’ identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. Language- and content-based instruction seems to do the same, though monolingual instruction may jeopardize students’ identities as bilinguals while the discourse may normalize Swedish and Swedishness exclusively. Focus on linguistic dimensions in mathematics build up a communicative reform-oriented school mathematics discourse. The competing and intersecting discourses available in the multilingual mathematics classroom affect students’ agency, foreground and identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. For example, a reform-oriented school mathematics discourse intersecting with a social-relational discourse affects students’ active agency allowing power relations to be negotiated. A principal conclusion is that the success or failure of multilingual students in multilingual mathematics classrooms cannot be explained in terms of language and cultural factors alone, but only in relation discourse, and to social and political conditions in society at large.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik, Stockholms universitet , 2010. , 133 p.
Keyword [en]
multilingual mathematics classrooms, discourse, Swedishness, agency, identities, foreground, ethnography, socio-political
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43510ISBN: 978-91-7447-149-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43510DiVA: diva2:357471
Public defence
2010-12-03, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-11-11 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2010-11-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Bilingual students' mother tongue: a resource for teaching and learning matematics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bilingual students' mother tongue: a resource for teaching and learning matematics
2008 (English)In: Nordic Studies in Mathematics Education, ISSN 1104-2176, Vol. 13, no 4, 29-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents some of the main results of a bilingual mathematics teaching project, which run in five multicultural schools in Sweden. The main research question was: How do mathematical practices emerge in bilingual mathematics classrooms? In the project bilingual mathematics teachers seemed to promote mathematical learning and engagement in the classroom by using two languages in mathematical discourses. Pupils and teachers communicated mathematically in different ways, and the interplay between mathematics and language often became obvious. Bilingual pupils participating in the project expressed that they were able to learn more and they felt secure with the ways of using languages and learning mathematics. Participating in the project gave many of the pupils’ confidence in their mathematics learning competence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet, 2008
Keyword
mother tongue, bilingual students, mathematics education, discourse
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43504 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-18 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved
2. An immigrant student’s identity formation in a Swedish bilingual mathematics classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An immigrant student’s identity formation in a Swedish bilingual mathematics classroom
2010 (English)In: Mathematics and mathematics education: Cultural and social dimensions: proceedings of MADIF 7 / [ed] Christer Bergsten, Eva Jablonka, Tine Wedege, Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2010, 179-188 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper challenges current understandings of multicultural and bilingual students in mathematics classrooms in Sweden. Bilingual students are often pre-defined as disadvantaged and bilingualism is constructed as an obstacle. But students’ identity formation can be effects of agency and of participation in a variety of competing discourses available in a classroom. In a discourse where bilingualism is encouraged an immigrant student’s ability to positively build upon opportunities in the mathematics classroom seems to enhance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 2010
Series
Skrifter från Svensk förening för matematikdidaktisk forskning, ISSN 1651-3274 ; 7
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43505 (URN)91-973934-6-0 (ISBN)
Conference
MADIF 7: the Seventh Mathematics Education Research Seminar, Stockholm, January 26-27, 2010
Available from: 2010-10-18 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2010-11-02Bibliographically approved
3. Discourses and Agency in a Multilingual Mathematics Classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discourses and Agency in a Multilingual Mathematics Classroom
(English)In: Nordic Educational Research Working paper seriesArticle in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

I challenge understandings of students with a foreign background in mathematics classrooms in Sweden as disadvantaged. Students are often pre-defined as unsuccessful and bilingualism is constructed as an obstacle in classrooms. I explore how discourses operate in a monolingually instructed mathematics classroom. Among various discourses mainly three are exercised, a reform-oriented mathematics discourse, a language supportive discourse and a discourse excluding student’s linguistic and cultural experiences. A language supportive discourse promotes a reform-oriented mathematics discourse, and occasionally operates towards normalization towards Swedishness. On the other hand a reform-oriented discourse supports a language supportive discourse. Within these discourses there is space for students’ agency, and students position themselves as engaged mathematics learners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Education, Stockholm University
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43506 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-18 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2011-10-20Bibliographically approved
4. Students’ mathematical identity formations in a Swedish multilingual mathematics classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students’ mathematical identity formations in a Swedish multilingual mathematics classroom
2011 (English)In: Nordic Studies in Matematics Education NOMAD, ISSN 1104-2176, Vol. 16, no 1-2, 95-113 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I explore how students’ mathematical identities are formatted in a multilingualmathematics classroom. The study has been conducted in a group of ten multilingual Arabic and Swedish speaking students in grade eight and nine. In the articlethe focus is on two of the students. Students’ mathematical identity formations areeffects of exercise of a variety of discourses available in the mathematics classroom.In discourses promoting multilingualism and social relations students’ possibilities topositively build upon opportunities in the mathematics classroom seem to enhanceand identity formations as engaged mathematics learners is not an obstacle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mölndal: NOMAD, 2011
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43507 (URN)
Available from: 2012-02-01 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved
5. 30 Grade-Eight Students: Discourse switch and bilingual students solving text problems in mathematics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>30 Grade-Eight Students: Discourse switch and bilingual students solving text problems in mathematics
2011 (English)In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ICMI STUDY 21 CONFERENCE: MATHEMATICS EDUCATION AND LANGUAGE DIVERSITY: 16 – 20 September 2011, SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL / [ed] Mamokgethi Setati, Thulisile Nkambule & Leila Goosen, Kape Town: University of South Africa , 2011, 292-300 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, I investigate how discourse switch is influenced by agency as students orally solve a statistical problem. The linguistic and cultural backgrounds of bilingual students are often viewed as deficiencies that contribute to low performance in school. One example of a deficit explanation, in Sweden, is a student’s "lack of Swedishness". I use the notion of agency to avoid deficiency explanations of bilingual students’ performance in school mathematics. In this problem solving episode, Swedish serves as the main language of instruction. Discourse switches from a dominant discourse of "Swedish only" to a discourse of recognising bilingualism, as the teacher translates into Arabic and explains in Arabic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kape Town: University of South Africa, 2011
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Mathematics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43508 (URN)978-1-86888-682-1 (ISBN)
Conference
ICMI conference study - 21: mathematics education and language diversity
Available from: 2012-02-01 Created: 2010-10-18 Last updated: 2012-02-01Bibliographically approved

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