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Sets, groups and relations. A comparative study of the aims and purposes of mathematics education in relation to ability grouping in England and Norway. (English)
Philos. Math. Educ. J. 27, 17 p., electronic only (2013).
From the introduction: What is seen as acceptable or even recommended teaching practices in a country depends heavily on that culture’s sociological, political and philosophical outlook on the purposes of education. Therefore I would like to construct a framework for comparison that takes these issues into account, and in order to do so I will explore some of the ideas of Rousseau, Russell and Bourdieu in their works on education. Many others have made contributions to the topics discussed here, however I have chosen the above three because their thoughts complement each other nicely in the sense that the works of Rousseau and Russell can be seen as philosophical commentaries on the objectives of education, whereas Bourdieu’s work is more of a sociological commentary on how these objectives are achieved. Hence together their ideas can provide a flexible theoretical tool for analysing the practices I will describe in the following sections. After an introduction to the theories that will provide the framework for my comparison, I aim to structure this essay by first considering the Norwegian and English curricula and their statements about the purposes of mathematics education. After that I shall give a brief summary of ability-grouping practices in both countries followed by a comparison of the findings with respect to the outlined framework. Finally I will briefly comment on the availability of research on the topic of ability in the two countries.
Classification: D20 D30 D40
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