Primary school mathematics: An inside view. (English)

Valero, Paola (ed.) et al., Mathematics education and society, MES 3. Proceedings of the international conference, Helsingør, Denmark, April 2‒7, 2002. Volume I. (ISBN 87-7701-905-9). 165-174 (2002).

This paper is concerned with the nature of primary school maths. It takes as its starting point understandings of maths from a group of generalist primary school teachers. Through a consideration of one of the dominant metaphors (maths as a tool or tool box) it begins the development of an epistemology of maths from the standpoint of the teachers. Notions of efficiency, formal and informal methods and rules, formulae and algorithms that emerged from the data are considered. The ways in which teachers are excluded from ’official’ epistemologies of mathematics as well as from more process based conceptions of the subject are also considered.