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Developing mathematics teaching through research in practice: a community of inquiry model


Barbara Jaworski – Loughborough University, UK and University of Agder, Norway




Inquiry community, Teachers research/inquiry, collaborative model, Metaknowing


In what ways can mathematics teaching develop in order to offer improved learning opportunity in mathematics to students at all levels? Theory and research suggest that one model is that of teachers engaging in research/inquiry into their own teaching practice and their students’ mathematical learning.

However, such engagement is highly demanding at both intellectual and practical levels and hard for teachers to sustain within traditional school systems. I will propose a collaborative model in which school teachers and university educators work together as researchers bringing complementary knowledge and experience and both contributing to a research/inquiry process. Here inquiry is conceptualised in three interlocking layers: inquiry in doing mathematics in the classroom; inquiry in designing activity, materials and tasks for the classroom; and inquiry in the research process of charting development in practice.

Inquiry community is rooted in notions of community of practice (Lave and Wenger) which are extended to promote "metaknowing" which arises from critical alignment with traditional practices. Examples will be provided from a study in Norway which has run for four years and is extended for a further three, having developed from one original location to five locations throughout Norway. Here didacticians (university educators) work closely with school teachers as partners in research and development. Tensions and issues which arise from this kind of activity will be acknowledged and addressed.