Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 61, Issue 1–2, pp 219–245 | Cite as

What does Social Semiotics have to Offer Mathematics Education Research?

Article

Abstract

Social Semiotics, based on the work of the linguist Michael Halliday, emphasises the ways in which language functions in our construction and representation of our experience and of our social identities and relationships. In this paper, I provide an introduction to the theory and its analytic tools, considering how they can be applied in the field of mathematics education. Some research questions that may be raised and addressed from this perspective are identified. An illustrative example is offered, demonstrating a social semiotic approach to addressing questions related to construction of the nature of school mathematical activity in writing produced by secondary school students.

Key Words

Halliday language linguistics methodology nature of mathematics social semiotics 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, M., Sáenz-Ludlow, A., Zellweger, S. and Cifarelli, V.V. (eds): 2003, Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Knowing, Ottowa, Legas.Google Scholar
  2. Atweh, B., Bleicher, R.E. and Cooper, T.J.: 1998, ‘The construction of the social context of mathematics classrooms: A sociolinguistic analysis’, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 29(1), 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barwell, R.: 2003, ‘Patterns of attention in the interaction of a primary school mathematics student with English as an additional language’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 53(1), 35–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernstein, B.: 1996, Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity: Theory, Research, Critique, Taylor & Francis, London.Google Scholar
  5. Bullen, R.K., Edmondson, A. and Ward, T.: 2001, Success in Maths – Pupil's Book G2, Longman, Harlow.Google Scholar
  6. Burton, L. and Morgan, C.: 2000, ‘Mathematicians writing’, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 31(4), 429–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carreira, S., Evans, J., Lerman, S. and Morgan, C.: 2002, ‘Mathematical thinking: Studying the notion of ‘transfer”, in A.D. Cockburn and E. Nardi (eds.), Proceedings of the 26th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 2), School of Education and Professional Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich, pp. 185–192.Google Scholar
  8. Chapman, A.: 1993, ‘Language and learning in school mathematics: A social semiotic perspective’, Issues in Educational Research 3(1), 35–46.Google Scholar
  9. Chapman, A.: 2003, Language Practices in School Mathematics: A Social Semiotic Approach, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.Google Scholar
  10. Chouliaraki, L. and Fairclough, N.: 1999, Discourse in Late Modernity: Rethinking Critical Discourse Analysis, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  11. Cobb, P., Yackel, E. and McClain, K. (eds): 2000, Symbolizing and Communicating in Mathematics Classrooms: Perspectives on Discourse, Tools and Instructional Design, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  12. Duval, R.: 2000, ‘Basic issues for research in mathematics education’, in T. Nakahara and M. Koyama (eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 1), Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan, pp. 55–69.Google Scholar
  13. Evans, J.: 2000, Adults' Mathematical Thinking and Emotions: A Study of Numerate Practices, RoutledgeFalmer, London.Google Scholar
  14. Fairclough, N.: 1992, ‘The appropriacy of ‘appropriateness”, in N. Fairclough (ed.), Critical Language Awareness, Longman, Harlow, pp. 33–56.Google Scholar
  15. Fairclough, N.: 1995, Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language, Longman, Harlow.Google Scholar
  16. Forster, P.A. and Taylor, P.C.: 2003, ‘An investigation of communicative competence in an upper-secondary class where using graphics calculators was routine’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 52(1), 57–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Halliday, M.A.K. and Hasan, R.: 1989, Language, Context and Text: Aspects of Language in a Social-Semiotic Perspective (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  18. Halliday, M.A.K.: 1974, Some Aspects of Sociolinguistics, Interactions between Linguistics and Mathematical Education Symposium, UNESCO, Paris.Google Scholar
  19. Halliday, M.A.K.: 1978, Language as Social Semiotic: The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning, Edward Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  20. Halliday, M.A.K.: 1985, An Introduction to Functional Grammar, Edward Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  21. Halliday, M.A.K.: 1993, ‘The analysis of scientific texts in English and Chinese’, in M.A.K. Halliday and J.R. Martin (eds), Writing Science: Literacy and Discursive Power, Falmer, London, pp. 124–132.Google Scholar
  22. Hewitt, D.: 1992, ‘Train spotters' paradise’, Mathematics Teaching 140, 6–8.Google Scholar
  23. Hodge, R. and Kress, G.: 1988, Social Semiotics, Polity Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. Houssart, J.: 2001, ‘Rival classroom discourses and inquiry mathematics: The “whisperers”,’ For the Learning of Mathematics 21(3), 2–8.Google Scholar
  25. Hoyles, C.: 1992, ‘Illuminations and reflections – teachers, methodologies and mathematics’, in W. Geeslin and K. Graham (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Conference for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 3), University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, pp. 263–286.Google Scholar
  26. Kieran, C., Forman, E.A. and Sfard, A.: 2001, ‘Bridging the individual and the social: Discursive approaches to research in mathematics education: A PME special issue’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 46(1–3).Google Scholar
  27. Kieran, C.: 2001, ‘The mathematical discourse of 13-year-old partnered problem solving and its relation to the mathematics that emerges’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 46(1–3), 187–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T.: 1996, Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  29. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T.: 2001, Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication, Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  30. Kress, G.: 1989, Linguistic Processes in Sociocultural Practice (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  31. Morgan, C., Evans, J. and Tsatsaroni, A.: 2002a, ‘Emotion in school mathematics practices: A contribution from discursive perspectives' in P. Valero and O. Skovsmose (eds.), Proceedings of the Third International Mathematics Education and Society Conference (Vol. 2), Centre for Research in Learning Mathematics, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 400– 413.Google Scholar
  32. Morgan, C., Tsatsaroni, A. and Lerman, S.: 2002b, ‘Mathematics teachers' positions and practices in discourses of assessment’, British Journal of Sociology of Education 23(3), 445–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morgan, C.: 1995, An Analysis of the Discourse of Written Reports of Investigative Work in GCSE Mathematics, Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Institute of Education, University of London.Google Scholar
  34. Morgan, C.: 1996, ‘Teacher as examiner: The case of mathematics coursework’, Assessment in Education 3(3), 353–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Morgan, C.: 1998, Writing Mathematically: The Discourse of Investigation, Falmer, London.Google Scholar
  36. Morgan, C.: 2001, ‘Mathematics and human activity: Representation in mathematical writing’, in C. Morgan and K. Jones (eds.), Research in Mathematics Education Volume 3: Papers of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, London, pp. 169– 182.Google Scholar
  37. Morgan, C.: 2003, ‘The linguistic construction of social identities in mathematical communities’, in M. Anderson, A. Sáenz-Ludlow, S. Zellweger and V.V. Cifarelli (eds.), Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From thinking to interpreting to knowing, Legas, Ottowa, pp. 109–128.Google Scholar
  38. O'Halloran, K.L.: 2003, ‘Educational implications of mathematics as a multisemiotic discourse’, in M. Anderson, A. Sáenz-Ludlow, S. Zellweger and V.V. Cifarelli (eds.), Educational perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Knowing, Legas, New York, pp. 185–214.Google Scholar
  39. Pimm, D.: 1987, Speaking Mathematically: Communication in Mathematics Classrooms, Routledge Kegan & Paul, London.Google Scholar
  40. Radford, L.: 2000, ‘Signs and meanings in students' emergent algebraic thinking: A semiotic analysis’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 42(3), 237–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Radford, L.: 2003, ‘On culture and mind: A post-Vygotskian perspective with an example from Greek mathematical thought’, in M. Anderson, A. Sáenz-Ludlow, S. Zellweger and V.V. Cifarelli (eds), Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Knowing, Legas, Ottowa.Google Scholar
  42. Sáenz-Ludlow, A.: 2004, ‘Metaphor and numerical diagrams in the arithmetical activity of a fourth-grade class’, Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 35(1), 34– 56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Santos, M. and Matos, J.F.: 1998, ‘School mathematics learning: Participation through appropriation of mathematical artefacts’ in A. Watson (ed.), Situated Cognition and the Learning of Mathematics, University of Oxford Dept. of Educational Studies, Oxford.Google Scholar
  44. Sfard, A.: 2000, ‘Symbolizing mathematical reality into being – or how mathematical discourse and mathematical objects create each other’, in P. Cobb, E. Yackel and K. McClain (eds.), Symbolizing and Communicating in Mathematics Classrooms: Perspectives on Discourse, Tools, and Instructional Design, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 37–98.Google Scholar
  45. Sfard, A.: 2001, ‘There is more to discourse than meets the ears: Looking at thinking as communicating to learn more about mathematical learning’, Educational Studies in Mathematics 46(1–3), 13–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Steinbring, H., Bartolini Bussi, M.G. and Sierpinska, A. (eds): 1998, Language and Communication in the Mathematics Classroom, Reston, VA, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  47. Walkerdine, V.: 1988, The Mastery of Reason: Cognitive Development and the Production of Rationality, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  48. Walkerdine, V.: 1989, Counting Girls Out, Virago, London.Google Scholar
  49. Wells, D.: 1993, Problem Solving and Investigations (3rd (enlarged) ed.), Rain Press, Bristol.Google Scholar
  50. Zack, V. and Graves, B.: 2001, ‘Making mathematical meaning through dialogue: ‘Once you think of it, the z minus three seems pretty weird”, Educational Studies in Mathematics 46(1–3), 229–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zevenbergen, R.: 1998, ‘Classroom interactions and linguistic capital: A Bourdieuian analysis of the construction of difference in mathematics education’, in P. Gates (ed.), Mathematics Education and Society: Proceedings of the First International Mathematics Education and Society Conference, Centre for the Study of Mathematics Education, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, pp. 360–366.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mathematics Science and Technology, Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations