Exploring issues of control over values teaching in the mathematics classroom

Year: 2001

Author: Seah, Wee Tiong, Bishop, Alan, FitzSimons, Gail, Clarkson, Philip

Type of paper: Refereed paper

In our previous AARE paper (Clarkson, Seah, Bishop, & FitzSimons, 2000), we discussed methodological challenges to researching values in the mathematics classroom. We have now collected data in this project from classroom observations. In analysing as case studies the teaching of eight teachers, we were able to categorise whether teachers did, or did not, nominate the values that were subsequently observed (or sometimes not observed). Where teachers were observed to teach the nominated values, a conscious decision by the teacher could have been made to address them explicitly (e.g., "today we are going to focus on co-operation …"), or implicitly (e.g., by rewarding co-operative behaviour without mentioning it explicitly). Of more interest in this paper is the converse: values that were not nominated by teachers but subsequently observed. Transcripts of data reveal that sometimes teachers were aware of the underlying values but, to the extent that they had internalised them, they had not considered them worthy of mention. At other times their responses appeared to indicate a measure of surprise. This paper will elaborate on how the project team approached the issues of control over the teaching of values, focusing especially on those not explicitly nominated.