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    Affective productions of mathematical experience

    Walshaw, Margaret and Brown, Tony (2012) Affective productions of mathematical experience. ISSN 1573-0816


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    In underscoring the affective elements of mathematics experience, we work with contemporary readings of the work of Spinoza on the politics of affect, to understand what is included in the cognitive repertoire of the Subject. We draw on those resources to tell a pedagogical tale about the relation between cognition and affect in settings of mathematical learning. Our interest is first captured in the way in which one teacher’s priority of establishing an inclusive learning community occasionally harboured what appeared to be pedagogically restrictive conceptions of mathematics. Yet, the classroom practices that produced these conceptions promoted the students’ motivation and provided meaningful access to mathematical learning within the classroom collectivity. In a second example, the postponement of scientific encapsulation in bodily imitations of planetary movement kept alive a shared dynamic sense of an elliptical orbit. In both of these cases, we draw on Spinoza’s work to show how the affectivity of classroom practice constituted conceptions of cognition and of mathematical activity crucially linked to the imperatives of participation.

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