Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2014 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Didactical Phenomenology (Freudenthal)

  • Marja Van den Heuvel-PanhuizenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4978-8_49

What Is Meant by Didactical Phenomenology?

The term didactical phenomenology was coined by Hans Freudenthal. Although his initial ideas for it date from the late 1940s, he likely first used the term in a German article in 1974. A few years later, the term appeared in English in his book Weeding and Sowing – Preface to a Science of Mathematical Education (Freudenthal 1978). Understanding the term requires comprehending Freudenthal’s notion of a phenomenology of mathematics, which refers to describing mathematical concepts, structures, or ideas, as thought objects (nooumena) in their relation to the phenomena (phainomena) of the physical, social, and mental world that can be organized by these thought objects.

The term didactical is used by Freudenthal in the European continental tradition referring to the way we teach students and the organization of teaching processes. This definition of didactics goes back to Comenius’ (1592–1670) Didactica Magna(Great Didactics) that contains a...


Phenomena in reality Mathematical thought objects Didactics Realistic mathematics education Analyses of subject matter 
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  1. Freudenthal H (1978) Weeding and sowing. Preface to a science of mathematical education. Reidel, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  2. Freudenthal H (1983) Didactical phenomenology of mathematical structures. Reidel, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  3. Freudenthal H (1991) Revisiting mathematics education. China lectures. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freudenthal Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Faculty of Science & Faculty of Social and Behavioural SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands