Advertisement

Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 145–168 | Cite as

Authority and Authority Relations in Mathematics Education: A View from an 8th Grade Classroom

  • Miriam AmitEmail author
  • Michael N. Fried
Article

Abstract

Compared to studies in general education, authority has received little attention in mathematics education, despite an increasing interest in sociological perspectives in mathematics classroom research. The subject of authority is particularly important in mathematics education, on the one hand, because of the immense authority mathematics itself seems to possess and pass on to its practitioners, but also, on the other hand, because of the anti-authoritarianism present, to some degree, in many trends in mathematics education such as cooperative learning approaches and constructivist pedagogies. Such an anti-authoritarian stance appears justified by data from an 8th grade mathematics classroom (supplemented with data from a second 8th grade classroom) which suggest that teachers possess immense authority in the eyes of the students and that this and other authority relations are strongly evident in the students’ non-reflective ways of interacting not only with their teachers but also among themselves. However, theoretical considerations on authority show that the problem may not be authority per se but the way one conceives the notion of authority, that there exist kinds of authority, such as Benne’s ‘anthropogogical’ authority, which can encourage reflective and also fruitful collaborative work.

Key Words

‘anthropogogical’ authority mathematical classroom authority Learners’ perspective study (LPS) reflective mathematical interaction sociological perspectives 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Amit, M. and Fried, N.F. 2002, ‘Authority in the mathematics classroom and its influence on students,’ Ability to Reflect. in A.D. Cockburn and E. Nardi (eds.), PME26: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference 2, pp. 41–48. Norwich, UK: University of East Anglia.Google Scholar
  2. Benne, K.D. 1970, ‘Authority in education’, Harvard Educational Review 40, 385–410.Google Scholar
  3. Boaler, J. 2003, ‘Studying and capturing the complexity of practice – the case of the, ‘dance of agency’, in N.A. Pateman, B.J. Dougherty and T.Z. Joseph (eds.), Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of PME27 and PME-NA25, Vol. 1, pp. 3–16, Honolulu, Hawaii: CRDG, College of Education.Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, D. 1998, ‘The classroom learning project: its aims and methodology’. Paper presented as part of the symposium, “Perspectives on meaning in mathematics and science classrooms”, at the Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, November 30, 1998. Available at the web site: http://www.aare.edu.au/98pap/cla98053.htm
  5. Clarke, D. 2000, Learners’ Perspective Study: Research Design, Available at the website: http://extranet.edfac.unimelb.au/DSME/lps/assets/lps.pdf
  6. Clarke, D. 2001, Perspectives on Practice and Meaning in Mathematics and Science Classroom, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  7. Cobb, P. and Bauersfeld, H. 1995, The Emergence of Mathematical Meaning, Hillsdale, Lawrence Erlbaum, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  8. Dowling, P. 1998, ‘Why the Sociology of Mathematics Education? Activity, Strategy and Dialogue’, Plenary given at Mathematics Education and Society: An International Conference, September 6–11, 1998, University of Nottingham. Also available at the web site: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/csme/meas/plenaries/dowling.html
  9. Edwards, D. and Mercer, N. 1987, Common Knowledge: The Development of Understanding in the Classroom. Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  10. Eisenhart, M.A. (1988), The ethnographic research tradition and mathematics education research’, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 16, 99–114.Google Scholar
  11. Ernest, P. 1991, The Philosophy of Mathematics Education, London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  12. French, J.R.P. and Raven B. 1959, ‘The bases of social power’, in Cartwright’, D. (ed.), Studies in Social Power. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan, pp. 150-167.Google Scholar
  13. Foucault, M. 1980, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972–1977, Gordon C. (ed.), C. Gordon, L. Marshall, J. Mepham, K. Soper (Trans.), Pantheon Books, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Fried, M.N.F. and Amit, M. 2003, ‘Some reflections on mathematics classroom notebooks and their relationship to the public and private nature of student practices’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 53, 91–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ginsburg, H.P. 1997, Entering the Child’s Mind: The Cognitive Clinical Interview in Psychological Research and Practice, Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Helme, S. and Clarke, D. 2001, ‘Cognitive engagement in the mathematics classroom’, in D. Clarke (ed.), Perspectives on Practice and Meaning in Mathematics and Science Classrooms. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 131–154.Google Scholar
  17. Hersh, R. 1998, What is Mathematics Really? Vintage, London.Google Scholar
  18. Johnson, D.W. and Johnson, R.T. 1989, ‘Cooperative learning in mathematics education’, in P.R. Trafton and A.P. Shulte (eds.), New Directions for Elementary School Mathematics, NCTM, pp. 234–245.Google Scholar
  19. Keitel, C. and Kilpatrick, J. 1999, ‘The rationality and irrationality of international comparative studies’, in G. Kaiser, E. Luna and I. Huntley (eds.), International Comparisons in Mathematics Education, The Falmer Press, London, pp. 241–256.Google Scholar
  20. Lave, J. and Wenger E. 1991, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  21. Levin, J. and Shanken-Kaye, J.M. 1996, The Self-Control Classroom, Dubuque, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Iowa.Google Scholar
  22. Leonard K. 1973, ‘Authority’, in Philip P. Wiener (ed.), Dictionary of the History of Ideas, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, I, pp. 141–162.Google Scholar
  23. Lerman, S. 2000, ‘The social turn in mathematics education research’, in J. Boaler (ed.), Multiple Perspectives on Mathematics Teaching and Learning, Ablex Publishing, Westport, CT, pp. 19–44.Google Scholar
  24. Lewis-Shaw, C. 2001, ‘Measuring values in classroom teaching and learning’, in D. Clarke (ed), Perspectives on Practice and Meaning in Mathematics and Science Classrooms, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 155–196.Google Scholar
  25. Mellin-Olsen, S. 1987, The Politics of Mathematics Education, D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  26. Oyler, C. 1996, Making Room for Students: Sharing Teacher Authority in Room 104, Teachers College Press, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Simon, M.A. 2000, ‘Reconsidering mathematical validation in the classroom’, in T. Nakahara and M. Koyama (eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Vol.4, pp. 161–168.Google Scholar
  28. Stigler, J.W. and Hiebert, J. 1998, ‘Teaching is a cultural activity’ American Educator, Winter Issue, 4–6.Google Scholar
  29. Stigler, J.W. and Hiebert, J. 1999, The Teaching Gap, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  30. Stigler, J.W. and Hiebert, J. 1997, ‘Understanding and improving classroom mathematics instruction: an overview of the TIMSS video study’, Phi Delta Kappan 79(1) 14–21.Google Scholar
  31. Vithal, R. 1999, ‘Democracy and authority: a complementarity in mathematics education?’ Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, 31(1), pp. 27–36.Google Scholar
  32. Weber, M. 1947, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Henderson, A.R. and Parsons, T. (Trans.), William Hodge ad Company Limited, London.Google Scholar
  33. Waters, M. 1989, Collegiality, bureaucratization and professionalization: a weberian analysis. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 945–972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Waller, W.W. 1932, The Sociology of Teaching, Russell and Russell New York.Google Scholar
  35. Wolfe, D.M.: 1959, ‘Power and authority in the family’, in D. Cartwright (ed.), Studies in Social Power. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 99 –117.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Program for Science and Technology Education, The Institutes for Applied ResearchBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsreal

Personalised recommendations