for the learning of mathematics

an international journal of mathematics education

Houman Harouni - Vol. 35 Num. 2 (2015)
 Reframing the discussion on word problems: a political economy


Many studies have attempted to describe the significant place of word problems at the intersection of mathematics, education and real world activity. In this essay the author suggests that the discussion of word problems needs to be reframed within a historical and dialectical conception of "mathematics," "the real world" and pedagogical institutions. The author argues that the literature on word problems takes for granted certain unexamined conceptions of history, everyday experience and mathematics that severely curtail our understanding of the topic. These assumptions can be effectively re-examined in light of political economy and divisions of labor.