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Comparative project concerning the teaching and learning of proof in Baltic and Nordic countries

Research project How do secondary school teachers in Baltic and Nordic countries relate to proof and proving? What kind of pedagogical perspectives do they have about proof? Are there differences between the countries? These are the questions studied in this project.

The aim of this project is to study the role of proof and reasoning in teaching of mathematics in Baltic and Nordic countries. We are going to focus mainly on the upper secondary level. First, we are going to investigate teachers' views about proof and proving and about their pedagogical views concerning these things. Later we will also analyse curricula and textbooks.

Project overview

Project period:

2009-09-01 2011-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, Faculty of Science and Technology

Research subject

Educational sciences, Mathematics

Project description

Proof is a current issue in mathematics education and there is a renewed emphasis on proof in the ongoing revisions of school curricula in many countries. Also the research on proof in mathematics education has been a vital issue during the last three decades. However, there are only few comparative studies about the treatment of proof in different countries. Comparative studies with respect to the role of proof in mathematics education have a potential to inform us about a variety of approaches to proof in school curricula and classrooms in countries with different cultural backgrounds and traditions. We may also find differences in learning outcomes and attitudes of teachers and students that we might be able to connect to differences in the curricula and the instructional practices.

The following specific research questions could be investigated within the project:

* What is the status/role of proof and reasoning in the school curricula in the countries involved in the study?
* How do secondary school teachers relate to proof and the teaching and learning of proof in these countries (e.g. teachers’ beliefs)?
* What are their pedagogical perspectives concerning the teaching and learning of proof?
* How is proof dealt with in mathematics textbooks?

We are going to focus our study mainly on the upper secondary level, but some data will also be collected from the lower secondary level. We are going to start from teachers' views about proving and its use in school mathematics (the second and the third research questions in the list above). In this process we are going to use both quantitative and qualitative research approaches.