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  • Public defence: 2019-12-13 13:00 Hb116, Jönköping
    Ekdahl, Anna-Lena
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Praktiknära utbildningsforskning (PUF), Mathematics Education Research.
    Teaching for the learning of additive part-whole relations: The power of variation and connections2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this thesis, results from four empirical studies and a re-analysis are synthesized with what can constitute a structural approach to teaching and learning additive part-whole relations among learners aged four to eight years. In line with a structural approach to additive relations, the relations of parts and whole are in focus from the outset and are seen as the basis for addition and subtraction (Davydov 1982; Neuman, 1987). This approach was introduced by the researches in two intervention studies across different contexts. The researches collaborated with teachers in planning part-whole activities, teachers teaching them in their own settings, and then reflecting on them together with the research team. The empirical material consists of video-recorded lessons (Grade 3), small-group teaching (preschool) and individual video-recorded task-based learner interviews (with preschoolers). The teaching episodes and interviews were analyzed on a micro-level, using analytical tools and concepts from variation theory (Marton, 2015). To deepen the knowledge, a re-analysis was also conducted with the purpose of identifying qualitative differences in teachers’ enactments of mathematical ideas and principles associated with a structural approach to additive relations.

    Looking at the articles and the re-analysis, the results suggest that, for learning, it matters which representations are offered to the children. Some representations seem to facilitate the discernment of the parts and whole, and their relations. The results suggest that it matters which examples are offered. A systematic sequence of examples has the potential to bring to the fore relations between different part-whole examples, which offer the children opportunity to learn mathematical principles such as commutativity. Furthermore, the results indicate that what is made possible to learn about additive part-whole relations is associated with what aspects are opened up as dimensions of variation (Marton, 2015). Foremost, though, the results reveal the importance of making connections to highlight number relations and key features associated with the structural approach to additive relations. The results suggest that how variation is offered, and whether and how the teacher explicitly (verbally and gesturally) draws attention to relations, ideas and aspects, is crucial for the learning of additive part-whole relations. Moreover, through the separate articles and the re-analysis, the outcomes indicate that the structural approach to additive part-whole relations and conjectures from variation theory are possible to implement in different contexts and for different ages of children.