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University of Stirling


Conference Paper (unpublished)

“Disadvantage” and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context

Swanson DM (2002) “Disadvantage” and School Mathematics: The Politics of Context. Ninth International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning, Beijing, China, 16.07.2002-20.07.2002.

School mathematics is not "neutral"! It is historically, culturally and socially constructed. These constructions are realised differently within classrooms, especially within different socio-political contexts.  This paper sets out to describe the relationship between discourse, context and subjectivity in informing pedagogic practice in diverse mathematics classrooms. Based on the results of two qualitative studies, I will elaborate on the concomitant relationship between the positioning of students, in accordance with constructions of social difference, and the kinds of differentiated practices afforded them. In particular, I am concerned with how "disadvantaged" students are denied access to the "regulating principles" of school mathematics, thereby "pedagogizing difference" within the school. The studies refer to two, socio-economically different, schooling contexts. I will show how, in both cases, the construction of "disadvantage" (re)produces pedagogic disadvantage, and of the implications this has for mathematics education in a 'global' context.

Author(s)Swanson, Dalene M
Publication date31/07/2002
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ConferenceNinth International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning
Conference locationBeijing, China
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