Amongst Mathematicians: Teaching and Learning Mathematics at by Elena Nardi

By Elena Nardi

This ebook deals a special standpoint on ways that mathematicians: understand their scholars' studying; educate; give some thought to their instructing perform. Elena Nardi achieves this through applying fictional, but fullyyt data-grounded, characters to create a talk on those vital concerns. the development of those characters is predicated on huge our bodies of knowledge together with extreme centred workforce interviews with mathematicians and wide analyses of scholars' written paintings, accumulated and analyzed over a considerable period.

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A particularly helpful way of seeing the brand of (re)story-ing I have used is Jerome Bruner’s account of how the mind constructs a sense of reality through ‘cultural products, like language and other symbolic systems’ (p3) in his Critical Inquiry article ‘The Narrative Construction of Reality’ (1991)9. Bruner proposes narrative as one of these cultural products and defines it in terms of the following ten characteristics: 1. 2. 3. Diachronicity (narratives deal with events taking place over a period of time) Particularity (narratives deal with particular events) Intentional State Entailment (characters within a narrative have ‘beliefs, desires, theories, values, and so on’) 4.

I. The outcome was intended as a chapter (that later became the opening scene of Chapter 4 – see Post-script) in a book aimed for mathematics undergraduates in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil where I spent the first weeks of my Study Leave in 2004 and where much of the conceptualisation described above took place18. The following is from the chapter submitted to the Brazilian colleagues responsible for the volume in April 2004: 17 This process differs slightly for the three Narrative Folders from the ‘meta-mathematical’ Dataset.

This work aspires to address some of these silences − with the exception perhaps of ‘global theory’ on the teaching and learning of mathematics at the undergraduate level…! Apart from the above, mostly philosophical, works another source of inspiration in my use of the dialogic format lies in theatre, particularly in a small number of plays where I feel that the subtle and the artful meet effectively. I am constantly fascinated by the capacity of great writers such as Tom Stoppard (particularly Arcadia) and Michael Frayn (particularly Copenhagen and Democracy) to touch on ‘big issues’ in ways that are accessible but are ‘ni récréation ni vulgarisation’, a difficult and in many ways problematic dual objective 12.

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