Encountering Algebra

A Comparative Study of Classrooms in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the USA

  • Cecilia Kilhamn
  • Roger Säljö

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Cecilia Kilhamn, Ann-Sofi Röj-Lindberg, Ole Björkqvist
    Pages 1-11
  3. Cecilia Kilhamn, Thomas Hillman, Roger Säljö
    Pages 33-69
  4. Unni Wathne, Jorunn Reinhardtsen, Hans Erik Borgersen, Maria Luiza Cestari
    Pages 71-109
  5. Ann-Sofi Röj-Lindberg, Anna-Maija Partanen
    Pages 111-138
  6. Roger Säljö, Cecilia Kilhamn
    Pages 235-247
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 249-263

About this book


The book reports a comparative research project about algebra teaching and learning in four countries. Algebra is a central topic of learning across the world, and it is well-known that it represents a hurdle for many students. The book presents analyses built on extensive video-recordings of classrooms documenting the first introduction to symbolic algebra (students aged 12 to 14). While the content addressed in all classrooms is variables, expressions and equations, the teaching approaches are diverse. The chapters bring the reader into different algebra classrooms, discussing issues such as mathematization and social norms, the role of mediating tools and designed examples, and teacher beliefs. By comparing classrooms, new insights are generated about how students understand the algebraic content, how teachers instruct, and how both parties deal with difficulties in learning elementary algebra. The book also describes a research methodology using video in search of taken-for-granted aspects of algebra lessons.


Algebra learning Classroom instruction Comparative mathematics education research Video analysis of classroom learning Diverse teaching approaches to symbolic algebra Algebraic variables, expressions, and equations Mathematization in algebra classrooms Social norms in algebra classrooms The VIDEOMAT project Algebra classrooms in Sweden Algebra classrooms in Norway Algebra classrooms in Finland Encouraging algebraic reasoning in contemporary classrooms

Editors and affiliations

  • Cecilia Kilhamn
    • 1
  • Roger Säljö
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional StudiesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Education, Communication and LearningUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-17576-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-17577-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site