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Landscapes of Learning in a Multicultural Mathematics Classroom

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  • Education
  • Mathematics
  • Political Science


CERME paper template LANDSCAPES OF LEARNING IN A MULTICULTURAL MATHEMATICS CLASSROOM Helle Alrø, Ole Skovsmose and Paola Valero Aalborg University Students' motives for learning mathematics cannot be understood by looking solely at mathematical classroom activities. We discuss this claim in a multicultural context using the notion of 'landscapes of learning'. This notion serves as a theoretical and methodological tool that both defines a research perspective and sketches a field of empirical research. In this paper we want to focus on the notion and illustrate its usefulness when researching mathematical learning in multicultural contexts. We draw on data and results of an empirical study on student’s foregrounds with 45 teenage students in two 8th grade multicultural classes in Denmark. We show the dialectical relationship between each dimension of the landscape and the whole of it; and how, as a whole, it can help us coming closer to better theorisations. A LANDSCAPE OF LEARNING FOR RESEARCHING MULTICULTURAL CONTEXTS Research in mathematical learning in multicultural classrooms has tended to highlight language as a dominant aspect (e.g. Kaiser, 2003). Although important understandings have resulted from that type of research, we notice that selecting one particular aspect does not allow grasping the social complexity of multicultural classrooms. In our research project “Learning From Diversity” (Alrø, Skovsmose and Valero, 2003, 2005) we have engaged in the study of mathematical learning in multicultural classrooms from a socio-political perspective, interested in both a theoretical and an empirical examination of mathematics education practices in settings where cultural diversity, conflict and dialogue coexist. Such an examination is of extreme relevance in the current situation in Denmark where, similarly to many other European countries, dealing with the cultural diversity of immigrant population is being constructed as a problem and an obstacle f

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