Volume 1 (2), February 2006
Adult Students’ Views of Mathematics: Reflections on Projects Dubravka Viskic
NewSouth Global, University of New South Wales, Australia
Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
In this article, we investigate adult mathematics students’ ideas about mathematics and learning, based on their written reflections on the process of carrying out projects as part of a preparatory mathematics course at an Australian university. On the basis of these reflections, we categorise their conceptions of mathematics using a hierarchical classification previously developed in the context of undergraduate university study in mathematics. We discuss the various aspects of the projects and their studies that help at least some of them to take broader conceptions of mathematics with them into their future professional and personal lives.
Cognitive Trajectories in Response to Proportional Situations in Adult EducationJavier Díez-Palomar, Joaquim Giménez Rodríguez, & Paloma García Wehrle
Department of Experiential Sciences and Mathematics Education
We present the results of a case study about the learning of proportional situations in a school for adults. The objective is to find ways of overcoming the forms of exclusion that occur in daily mathematics situations that involve the use of proportions for decision making. We study how dialogue intervenes in the resolution of the problems that are posed. To this end, we analyse the activity (in line with Leontiev, 1981) from the perspective of the development of content. We analyse the interaction and discourse as a speech act (in line with Searle, 1980). We propose the use of cognitive learning trajectories as a methodological tool to support the analysis of the discourse. Among other conclusions we found that perlocutionary speech acts can encourage learning, but can also create barriers when the speaker uses a position of power that breaks with egalitarian dialogue.
Adults’ Resistance to Learning in School versus
Adults’ Competences in Work: The Case of Mathematics
School of Teacher Education
Mathematics and Statistics Group
In adult education, resistance to learning is a well known phenomenon. There is an apparent contradiction between many adults’ problematical relationships with mathematics in formal settings and their noteworthy “mathematics-containing” competences in everyday life. However, there is very little research done on the subject, and resistance is often explained purely as a lack of motivation and the symptom described as non-learning. In order to investigate adults’ resistance to learning, we must take into account the set of conflicts between the needs and constraints in adults’ lives. In this paper people’s resistance is seen as interrelated with their motivation and their competence and thus as containing the potential to be a crucial factor in all types of learning.
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