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Cultural continuity and consensus in mathematics education

Brown, Tony (2010) Cultural continuity and consensus in mathematics education. ISSN 1465-2978

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How do we develop models of mathematics education that recognise the diversity of the populations that they need to serve? The paper argues that the discourses of mathematics education research often aspire to cultural and historical continuity whilst simultaneously operating on the notion of a consensual ideal dependent on the future achievement of social models with adequate levels of resources. Such discourses, it is argued, rest on oversimplified models of social change that inflate the operative role of individual teachers and of mathematics education researchers in affecting broader teaching and learning cultures. The paper provides model for understanding mathematical work in school as a culturally defined product yet argues that such historically rooted conceptualisations need to be traversed to enable renewal.

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