Challenges and Future Perspectives

  • Pekka RäsänenEmail author
  • Vitor Geraldi Haase
  • Annemarie Fritz


We face two significant challenges in the world of mathematics education. First, despite access to education, more than half of the children in the world currently do not learn the basic numerical skills required for an independent life in modern societies. Second, even when offered a good learning environment, there are millions of children who would need extra attention to learn. With this book a large group of experts have aimed to offer a window to the worlds of these children on different continents, and have described theories and models at neural, cognitive, and behavioral levels to explain these phenomena of mathematics learning. In this summarizing chapter we try to concentrate on some of those questions with a focus on four different topics. Two of those are needed to build a better understanding of mathematical learning and its difficulties, and two are key elements for improving education for all. Educational neuroscience is a multidisciplinary field that offers a possibility for research and practice to meet. In particular, connecting neuroscience to interventions, i.e., to best practices in education, will be the key to understanding the dynamics of learning difficulties. Recognizing individual needs for support for learning is the other key to opening the locks in both research and practice. Models of assessment need to be revised to understand the dynamic, developing nature of learning. Early recognition is one of the questions we need to focus on. However, recognition without action is worthless. Therefore, mathematics as a subject in early education must be raised as an essential topic in all countries. The fourth topic concerns mathematics as a subject that is learned gradually on previously learned. Therefore, difficulties in learning are strongly connected to our ideas about what, in what order, and when we expect our children and youth to be able to master the challenges for learning presented in the curricula. Now, when digitalization is changing the world, schools and curricula, as well as the whole idea of the needs for learning in the twenty-first century, these questions of what and when are more urgent than ever. In our modern world, research should guide educational decision making and reforms.


Educational neuroscience Early education Assessment Curriculum Mathematical learning difficulties 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pekka Räsänen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vitor Geraldi Haase
    • 2
  • Annemarie Fritz
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Niilo Mäki InstituteJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Departamento de PsicologiaFaculdade de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas, Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Faculty of Education Sciences, Department of PsychologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  4. 4.Faculty of Education, Centre for Education Practice ResearchUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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