Participation and Mathematization in Introductory Algebra Classrooms: The Case of Sweden

  • Cecilia KilhamnEmail author
  • Thomas Hillman
  • Roger Säljö


In the Swedish classrooms of this study, teachers valued student participation and student engagement in mathematical activities. Students were consistently given opportunities to communicate and to voice their ideas. Students shared their work in the context of the whole class, which they seemed happy to do, and they were praised by the teachers for their efforts and participation. Mathematical tasks and activities offered students opportunities to discuss in small groups, to investigate using manipulatives and to engage in creative processes. However, we saw little evidence of the process of mathematizing in terms of making connections and conjectures at an algebraic level. On most occasions during these early lessons, the participants engaged in the specific and concrete work of manipulating objects and finding correct answers rather than in attempting to address the problems as instances of algebraic reasoning involving variables and equations.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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