Marta Civil -
Department of Mathematics - University of Arizona

MATH 596a - Seminar on Research in Mathematics Education: Culture and Mathematics

Course Description

When: Thursdays from 4:15 to 6:45 p.m.
Where: Math East 141
Instructor: Marta Civil  621-6873

The main theme of this seminar will be a socio-cultural approach to mathematics education.  Our aim will be to discuss research that looks at cultural, social, and political issues in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

• Overview of learning theories in mathematics, with particular emphasis on “the social.”
• Ethnomathematics
• In-school mathematics and out-of-school mathematics
• Culture / language and mathematics education
• Social class and mathematics education
• The culture of the classroom: issues of participation; who has a voice?

To ensure the flavor of a seminar, students’ participation is crucial.  Students need to come to class prepared, which in most cases will mean that they have read and carefully reflected upon the articles handed out for discussion.  There will be three main “activities” in this seminar:
a) Class participation (includes obvious evidence that you have read the articles). You will take turns in facilitating class discussion of specific topics.
b) Miscellaneous homework assignments (e.g., written responses to questions about the articles).
c) Research paper on a topic of your interest. This paper will include a critical review of the literature and, if appropriate, a small empirical research component.

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this course. It is intended for graduate students who have a specific interest in mathematics education research either for their major or minor.  I am hoping that the class will have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences with students from the Mathematics Department as well as from the College of Education (in particular, from Language, Reading and Culture, and from Teaching and Teacher Education).

Texts: We will rely mostly on a package of readings from leading journals in the field and from books. Here are a few of the sources:

Abreu, G. de, Bishop, A.J., & Presmeg, N. C. (Eds.). (2002). Transitions between contexts of mathematical practices. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Adler, J. (2001). Teaching mathematics in multilingual classrooms. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Ascher, M. (1991). Ethnomathematics: A multicultural view of mathematical ideas. New York, NY: Chapman & Hall.
Atweh, B., Forgasz, H., & Nebres, B. (Eds.). (2001). Sociocultural research on mathematics education: An international perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Baker, D., Clay, J., & Fox, C. (1996). Challenging ways of knowing in English, maths and science. Bristol, PA: Falmer Press.
Bishop, A. (1991). Mathematical enculturation: A cultural perspective on mathematics education.  Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Boaler, J. (Ed.) (2000). Multiple perspectives on mathematics teaching and learning. Westport, CT: Ablex.
Cooper, B. & Dunne, M. (2000). Assessing children’s mathematical knowledge: Social class, sex and problem solving. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.
Dowling, P. (1998). The sociology of mathematics education: Mathematical myths / pedagogic texts.  Bristol, PA: Falmer Press.
Lerman, S. (Ed.). (1994). Cultural perspectives on the mathematics classroom. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.
Martin, D. B. (2000). Mathematics success and failure among African-American youth: The roles of sociohistorical context, community forces, school influence, and individual agency. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1999-2002; different editors): the series of six books on Changing the Faces of Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM
Powell, A. & Frankenstein, M. (1997). Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in mathematics education. Albany, NY: SUNY.



Topic / Readings
Jan 16

Introduction /Course Overview

Jan 23

De Abreu, G. (1995). Understanding how children experience the relationship between home and school mathematics.  Mind,Culture and
Bishop, A. (1988). Mathematics education in its cultural context. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 19, 179-191.

Jan 30


Knijnik, G. (1993). An ethnomathematical approach in mathematical education: A matter of political power. For the Learning of Mathematics, 13(2),
Masingila, J. (1994). Mathematics practice in carpet laying. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 25(4), 430-462.
Presmeg, N. (1998). Ethnomathematics in teacher education. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 1(3).  [ONLINE- Library]

Feb 6

Social Class/ Reform / Assessment

Boaler, J. (2002). Learning from teaching: Exploring the relationship between reform curriculum and equity. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 33, 239-25.

Theule-Lubienski, S. (2000). Problem solving as a means toward mathematics for all: An exploratory look through a class lens. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 31
, 454-482.

Schoenfeld, A. (2002). Making mathematics work for all children: Issues of standards, testing, and equity. 
Educational Researcher, 31(1), 13-25.

Feb 13

Critical Pedagogy/ Social Justice/Curriculum implications

Gutstein, E. (2003). Teaching and learning mathematics for social justice in an urban, Latino school. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education,
34, 37-73.

Frankenstein, M. & Powell, A. (1994). Toward liberatory mathematics: Paulo Freire’s epistemology and ethnomathematics. In P. McLaren & C.
Lankshear (Eds.), Politics of liberation: Paths from Freire (pp. 74-99). London: Routledge.

Frankenstein, M. (1997). In addition to the mathematics: Including equity issues in the curriculum. In J. Trentacosta (Ed.), Multicultural and gender
equity in the mathematics classroom: The gift of diversity—1997 Yearbook (10-22).  Reston, VA: NCTM.

Feb 20

Math Ed Conference - Feb 20-22
Reports on your current research / research interests
Looking at Culturally based curriculum / social justice curriculum

Feb 27

Cross-Cultural Comparisons/ TIMSS – related

Stigler, J. & Hiebert, J. (1999). Teaching is a cultural activity--Chapter 6 from The teaching gap: Best ideas from the world’s teachers for improving
education in the classroom. New York, NY: The Free Press (85-101).

Jacobs, J., Yoshida, M., Stigler, J., & Fernandez, C. (1997). Japanese and American teachers' evaluations of mathematics lessons: A new technique
for exploring beliefs. Journal of Mathematical Behavior 16(1), 7-24. [ONLINE – Library]

Ma, L. (1999). Knowing and teaching elementary mathematics: Teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States.
Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum (Chapters 4 & 5)

March 6

Discourse / Interactions / Participation

Forman, E. (1996). Participation in classroom practice: Implications of sociocultural theory for educational reform.  In L. Steffe, P. Nesher, P.Cobb,
G. Golding, B. Greer (Eds.), Theories of mathematical learning (115-130).  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Wood, T. (1994). Patterns of interaction and the culture of mathematics classrooms. In S. Lerman (Ed.) Cultural perspectives on the mathematics
classroom (149-168).  Boston: Kluwer.

Civil, M. (2002). Everyday mathematics, mathematicians’ mathematics, and school mathematics: Can we bring them together? In B. Brenner & J.
Moschkovich (Eds.), Everyday and academic mathematics in the classroom (40-62). Reston, VA: NCTM.
 Zevenbergen, R. (2001). Mathematics, social class, and linguistic capital: An analysis of mathematics classroom interactions. In B. Atweh, H
 Forgasz, & B. Nebres (Eds.), Sociocultural research on mathematics education: An international perspective (201-215). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence

March 13

Multilingual / bilingual contexts and Mathematics

Licón Khisty, L. (1997). Making mathematics accessible to Latino students: Rethinking instructional practice.  In J. Trentacosta (Ed.), Multicultural and gender equity in the mathematics classroom: The gift of diversity—1997 Yearbook (192-101)).  Reston, VA: NCTM.

Moschkovich, J. (2002). A Situated and Sociocultural Perspective on Bilingual Mathematics Learners. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 4 (2&3),189-212. (ONLINE - Library)

Adler, J. (1997). A Participatory-inquiry approach and the mediation of mathematical knowledge in a multilingual classroom. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 33(3). (ONLINE – Library)

March 20


March 27

Funds of Knowledge – Project Bridge

Civil, M. & Andrade, R. (2002). Transitions between home and school mathematics: Rays of hope amidst the passing clouds.  In G. De Abreu, A. Bishop, & N. Presmeg (Eds.), Transitions between contexts of mathematical practices (pp.149-169). Boston: Kluwer.
González, N., Andrade, R., Civil, M., & Moll, L. (2001). Bridging funds of distributed knowledge: Creating zones of practices in mathematics.  Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 6 (1&2), 115-132.

Civil, M. & Kahn, L. (2001). Mathematics instruction developed from a garden theme. Teaching Children Mathematics, 7(7), 400-405.

April 3

Mathematicians’ mathematics

Burton, L. (1999). The practices of mathematicians: what do they tell us about coming to know mathematics? Educational Studies in Mathematics, 37 (2), 121-143. ONLINE

Burton, L. & Morgan, C. (2000). Mathematicians writing. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 31(4), 429-453.

Herzig, A. (2002). Where have all the students gone? Participation of doctoral students in authentic mathematical activity as a necessary condition for persistence toward the PH.D.  Educational Studies in Mathematics, 50(2), 177-212. ONLINE

April 10

Gender Equity

Boaler, J. (2002). Paying the price for “sugar and spice”: Shifting the analytical lens in equity research.  Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 2 (2&3), 127-144.

Becker, J. R. (1995). Women’s ways of knowing in mathematics. In P. Rogers & G. Kaiser (Eds.), Equity in mathematics education: Influences of feminism and culture (163-174). Washington, D.C.: Falmer Press.

Damarin, S. (1995). Gender and mathematics from a feminist standpoint. In W. Secada, E. Fennema, & L. Byrd Adajian (Eds.), New directions for equity in mathematics education (pp. 242-257). New York: Cambridge. University Press.

April 17

Social / political issues (Race, Ethnicity, Class)

Tate, W., & Rousseau, C. (2002).  Access and opportunity: The political and social context of mathematics education. In L. English (Ed.), Handbook of international reseach in mathematics education (271-299). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Zevenbergen, R. (1996). Constructivism as a liberal bourgeois discourse.  Educational Studies in Mathematics, 31, 95-113.

Gorgorió, N., Planas, N., & Vilella, X. (2002). Immigrant children learning mathematics in mainstream schools. In G. De Abreu, A. Bishop, & N. Presmeg (Eds.), Transitions between contexts of mathematical practices (23-52). Boston, MA: Kluwer.

April 24

[AERA conference]                         Working on course projects
May 1

Parents and Mathematics Education

De Abreu, G.,  Cline, T., & Shamsi, T. (2002). Exploring ways parents participate in their children’s school mathematical learning: Case studies in multiethnic primary schools.  In G. De Abreu, A. Bishop, & N. Presmeg (Eds.), Transitions between contexts of mathematical practices (123-147). Boston, MA: Kluwer.

Civil, M. & Quintos, B. (2002). Uncovering mothers’ perceptions about the teaching and learning of mathematics.  Paper presented at AERA, April 2002, New Orleans.

May 8/15

Projects due; presentations.

Email:   Marta Civil

This page was last updated on:
August 2003