for the learning of mathematics

John Mason - Vol. 30 Num. 3 (2010)
 Mathematics education: theory, practice & memories over 50 years


Indulging in recounting a few salient memories of what seems now like a dim and distant past, I raise questions about the ebb and flow, the waxing and waning of salient themes in mathematics education. I mention some of the most inspirational influences on my thinking and on my behaviour with learners of all ages. I take the opportunity to ask just what a ‘finding’ looks like in our field, and what the enterprise is really about. I conclude by agreeing with Italo Calvino in Mr. Palomar: “The universe is a mirror in which we can contemplate only what we have learned to know in ourselves.” He also said something to the effect that it is important to robe beneath the surface of things; but the surface is inexhaustible. That seems to me to capture the reality of mathematics education, whether as a scholarly domain, a research activity or a caring profession working with learners.


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