Bruk av elevbøker i matematikk på ungdomssteget : ein kasusstudie
Doctoral thesis, Peer reviewed
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The focus of this dissertation is on ways students and teachers work with the student-book in mathematics in lower secondary school. The intention is to study how it is integrated to the learning activity in the subject. The student-book in mathematics was introduced at the end of the 90s. It was depict as a pedagogical tool, mainly in the learning process for the individual student (Eksamenssekretariatet, 2000), by giving the students the opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning. This study is part of a larger research project on classrooms, Kvalitet i opplæringa (KIO) (Quality in education), led by Peder Haug from 2007 to 2010. Both quantitative and qualitative data are used; these are mainly from questionnaires and interviews of teachers and students. A total of 282 students have responded the questionnaire and 14 students have been interviewed. A total of 73 teachers have responded to the questionnaire and two of them have been interviewed. In this study the introduction of the student-book is related to the theory of writing to learn mathematics (Morgan, 1998). In order to systematise the analysis and understand the data, activity theory has been used (Engeström og Miettinen, 1999) in combination with Sfard’s commognition theory (2008). A distinction between the student-book as a tool on tests and as an artefact in the learning process of mathematics has been made in the analysis. The mathematical activity at school, according to the teachers and students, starts with an introduction of the theme in class and afterwards the students are solving tasks from the textbook. It is mainly when new subjects are introduced, at the beginning of the lessons that the students work with their student-book. Many students reveal that their writing in it is mainly copied from the board and subject the teachers dictate when they introduce them to new themes. Based on the distinction between presentation writing and reflective writing made by Hoel (2008), the students are mainly producing presentation writing. Here the focus is on the final product which would be presented to others, while in reflective writing the focus is on the writing as thinking aloud on paper. I use the term product writing, instead of presentation writing, since the focus is on making the best possible aid on tests. Therefore, the term product writing is better suited to covering the writing the students perform when the focus is on the final product. In this study a distinction has been observed between the intentions with the introduction of the student-book in mathematics and how it is implemented by most teachers. Letters from the Eksamenssekretariatet (2000) indicate that the content in the student-book should be the Bruk av elevbøker i matematikk på ungdomsskulen: ein kasusstudie 8 student’s self-made reflections and summary of the subjects. From the analysis, the first conclusion is that the introduction of the student-book in mathematics has not led to any changes in the actions performed by students in the learning processes of mathematics. Another conclusion is that writing to learn is not a procedure which has been identified as commonly used in the mathematics. The writing produced in the studentbook is mainly in the recount and summary mode as Clarke, Waywood and Stephens (1993) found in their study. Most students are not writing their own preparations and reflections on mathematics, as was the intention with the student-book when introduced. They are not, according to these researchers, creating and shaping knowledge. One explanation for this is probably related to the limited time used on writing in the student-book. From an implementation perspective (Fullan, 1992) it can be concluded that the student-book is not implemented as suggested by the official document in the mathematical activity in lower secondary school. Most of the students have not made use of writing in the studentbook to learn mathematics. In this way my study can also provide an important contribution to the discussion about how to integrate new elements in the mathematical activities in the school system.
Doktorgradsavhandling ved Universitetet i Agder, Fakultet for teknologi og realfag, Kristiansand