Visit by Candia Morgan
On May 4-5, 2017, Candia Morgan from the Institute of Education, University College London visited Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). During her visit, she participated in different seminars and worked together with members of UMERC.
Candia Morgan was invited as part of the Hans Wallin Lectures series.
Thursday, May 4
13:00-14:30, room N300
Specialised mathematical language – what is it, what is it for and what is its role in school mathematics?
It is commonly recognized that mathematics involves the use of specialised vocabulary, notations and various graphical and diagrammatic resources. These do not stand on their own but are used and combined in specialised ways in order to form mathematical statements and arguments. While texts used in a wide range of mathematical practices draw on specialised mathematical language, this varies widely in its extent and in the ways in which it is combined with everyday language or the language of other practices. Within school mathematics, many texts combine specialised and non-specialised language. This mixing of discursive resources sometimes arises from an intention to scaffold student acquisition of specialised discourse. It also often reflects a desire to enable students to apply mathematics to extra-mathematical contexts. In this lecture, I adopt a functional perspective on language, considering how the characteristics of school mathematical texts may enable and structure students' experience of mathematics. Drawing on a study of the discourse of school examinations in England, I discuss variation over time in how specialised language has been used in school mathematics and the ways that this may affect students' mathematical activity.
Friday, May 5
10:00-11:30, room N300
How policy speaks to practice: the construction of "good practice" in mathematics teaching
Educational practices are regulated not only by overt measures such as financial control and accountability regimes but also by discursive means. Hegemonic discourses provide ways of speaking about educational practices that define the constructs and values of the field in ways that come to appear natural and necessary. Alternative forms of practice become unthinkable. Critical analysis that identifies the discursive means by which dominant views of educational practice are constructed opens up opportunities for challenging assumptions and considering alternatives. In this lecture I present an analysis of documents produced in the official field in the UK, defining "good practice" in mathematics teaching. Using a social semiotic approach based on Lemke's thematic analysis, I identify how these texts produce possible actions and positions for teachers and students and exclude other possibilities.
Candia Morgan is a professor of Mathematics Education at the Institute of Education, University College London. She has worked as a secondary school mathematics teacher and teacher educator. She is well known in the research community, perhaps in particular for her work focusing on linguistic and discursive perspectives in mathematics education research, where her research interests also include aspects of curriculum and assessment.