Beyond Motivation - History as a method for the learning of meta-discursive rules in mathematics

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In this paper, we argue that history might have a profound role to play for learning mathematics by providing a self-evident (if not indispensable) strategy for revealing meta-discursive rules in mathematics and turning them into explicit objects of reflection for students. Our argument is based on Sfard’s theory of Thinking as Communicating, combined with ideas from historiography of mathematics regarding a multiple perspective approach to the history of practices of mathematics. We analyse two project reports from a cohort of history of mathematics projects performed by students at Roskilde University. These project reports constitute the experiential and empirical basis for our claims. The project reports are analysed with respect to students’ reflections about meta-discursive rules to illustrate how and in what sense history can be used in mathematics education to facilitate the development of students’ meta-discursive rules of mathematical discourse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Studies in Mathematics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)327-349
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ID: 141942752