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Social representations as mediators of mathematics learning in multiethnic classrooms

  • Núria Gorgorió
  • Núria Planas
Article

Abstract

Drawing on socio-cultural theory, we understand the norms regulating the practices within the mathematics classroom as resulting from the social representations of the socially dominant groups and of the school culture related to what constitutes learning mathematics. Immigrant studients, having their own personal histories as members of particular social groups, and having been in school traditions other than the one predominant in the host society, have their own images of what mathematics in school is about. Individuals interacting in the classroom are all re-interpreting the different episodes from the perspective of the social representations of the larger groups with which they identify themselves. In multiethnic classrooms different re-interpretations of the same norms clash. The lack of negotiation gives rise to obstacles to immigrant students’ participation in the mathematical conversations and, therefore, interferes with the students’ learning process.

Key words

Cultural artefacts Mediation Multicultural mathematics classroom Social representations Socio-mathematical norms 

Résumé

Partant des théories socioculturelles, nous interprétons les normes régulant les pratiques dans les cours de mathématiques comme étant en relation avec les représentations sociales des groupes sociaux dominants et avec la culture de l’école concernant ce qui constitue l’apprentissage des mathématiques. Ayant leurs propres histoires personnelles en tant que membres de certains groupes sociaux, et ayant eu des traditions scolaires différentes de celle qui prédomine la culture d’accueil, les élèves immigrants ont leurs propres images de ce que sont les mathématiques scolaires. Les individus en interaction dans la classe interprètent les différents épisodes sur la base des représentations sociales des groupes avec lesquels ils s’identifient. Dans les classes multiéthniques, différentes réinterprétations d’une même norme entrent en collision. L’absence de négociation fait obstacle à la participation des élèves immigrants dans les conversations mathématiques et ainsi interfere avec les processus d’apprentissage des élèves.

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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Núria Gorgorió
    • 1
  • Núria Planas
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament de Didàctica de les Matemàtiques i les Ciències ExperimentalsUniversitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Facultat de Ciències de l’EducacióBellaterraSpain

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