Visit by Bharath Sriraman

On March 14-17, 2010, professor Bharath Sriraman from The University of Montana, USA, visited Umeå Mathematics Education Research Centre (UMERC). During his visit, professor Sriraman took part in different seminars and also worked together with members of UMERC.

Professor Bharath Sriraman is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of mathematics education. His productivity is high, for example with more than 130 scientific publications, editorship for 15 scientific monographs, and that he has founded two scientific journals - which all have happened after 2001.

Program

March 14

Social activities, including a welcome dinner.

March 15

9.00-16.00: "Fostering creativity in mathematics classrooms"More information

March 16

14.00-15.00: "Maverick traditions in the philosophy of mathematics and their implications for mathematics education" (see abstract below)

March 17

13.00-14.00: "On the identities of mathematics education: A critical view of the field" (see abstract below)

Abstracts

Maverick traditions in the philosophy of mathematics and their implications for mathematics education

Imre Lakatos' book Proofs and Refutations was instrumental in both mathematicians and mathematics educators revisiting fundamental notions in the philosophy of mathematics. The philosophy of mathematics traditionally categorized as Platonism, Formalism, Logicism and Intuitionism has been criticized as conveying an absolutist view of the discipline, quite different from the "maverick" view of mathematics as a humanistic, quasi-empirical activity subject to fallibility. The pendulum swings in mathematics curricula in schools, and the often polarizing positions of mathematicians and mathematics educators on what constitutes teaching and learning school mathematics can be traced to implicit assumptions of these groups on the nature of mathematics. More recently mathematics educators have put forth the view that mathematics is fundamentally social with cultural limitations to its claims of certainty, universality and absoluteness. In this talk, we will also examine some of the paradigm shifts in mathematics education, particularly aims, research methods and learning theories with respect to their roots in philosophy, and I will present an academic interchange on the didactic possibilities of adapting Lakatos’ thought experiment in reality based on a classroom scenario where the real and the imaginary intertwined in the context of combinatorial counting problems. I will re-construct this 3 year interchange on Lakatos between me and David Pimm, and open the floor for discussion on the significance of Lakatos for mathematics education.

On the identities of mathematics education: A critical view of the field

In this talk a critical view of mathematics education is presented by examining its connections to psychology, social sciences, the history and philosophy of mathematics/science and design sciences. The identity of "our" field is questioned even though it offers multitudes of paradigms, methodologies and the possibilities for innovative research.


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