Potentials, pitfalls, and discriminations: curriculum conceptions revisited. (English)

Skovsmose, Ole (ed.) et al., Opening the cage. Critique and politics of mathematics education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers (ISBN 978-94-6091-806-3/pbk; 978-94-6091-807-0/hbk; 978-94-6091-808-7/ebook). New Directions in Mathematics and Science Education 23, 287-308 (2012).

From the introduction: With this contribution, we intend to initiale a discussion of alternative curriculum conceptions in terms of how these might facilitate or restrict access to forms of mathematical practices and discourses valued in tertiary education, in specialised professions, or more recently, valued by an educational policy discourse asseverating an increasing need for mathematical modelling skills in the face of technological development and economic challenges. The consequences of mathematics curricula for different student groups in terms of their access to those valued forms of mathematical discourse, their formation of mathematical identities, and their positioning in the â€œknowledge society" are rarely directly visible, as curriculum conceptions often represent ideological hybrids. However, these consequences are not simply more or less accepted side effects of the practice of schooling. Before addressing the potentials, pitfalls, and discriminations that curriculum conceptions might provoke for different social groups, we expose a conceptual framework for our description and analysis. By means of this framework we intend to overcome a characterisation of curriculum conceptions by a simple dichotomy of mainstream and alternative conceptions. Further, we describe conceptions of school mathematics as realisations of a process of dual recontextualisation that draw in different ways on the practices of professional mathematicians on the one hand, and on vocational, domestic, or leisure time activities on the other hand. The conclusion of the chapter focuses on the issue of how access to privileged discourses can best be provided by mathematics education practices.