The construct of anchoring an idea for ‘measuring’ interdisciplinarity in teaching. (English)

Philos. Math. Educ. J. 26, 10 p., electronic only (2011).

Summary: The paper discusses a theoretical and methodological construct ‒ the construct of anchoring ‒ which is originally developed in the context of using history of mathematics and/or philosophy of mathematics in mathematics education. The idea of the original use is to see if students’ historical and/or philosophical discussions are somehow rooted in or based on their mathematical content knowledge regarding the actual mathematics in designed teaching modules on specific cases from the history and philosophy of mathematics. The construct builds on (i) Anna Sfard’s theory of commognition (a contraction of communication and cognition) which in itself is a discursive approach to learning and on (ii) methodological triangulation between various gathered data sources. Based on a description of the original use of the construct in an empirical study carried out in Danish upper secondary school, I aim at arguing for the use of this construct as a way of ‘measuring’ the level of interdisciplinarity in cross-curricular/interdisciplinary teaching activities at (at least) secondary and tertiary educational levels and between practically any combination of two or more disciplines or subjects. The ‘measuring’ of the level of interdisciplinarity present in the implementation of teaching activities will be based on Eric Jantsch’ taxonomy of interdisciplinarity.