Engaging pedagogies in mathematics education: fostering autonomy or the cruellest regulation?

Year: 2006

Author: Klein, Mary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The argument I present in this paper revolves around different interpretations of just what an 'engaging pedagogy' in mathematics education is, and the potential effects on learners and their learning of mathematics. As a teacher educator, I have become increasingly aware that preservice teachers, especially those intending to teach in the early years of schooling, are often drawn to overly nanve notions of 'having fun' as the sole criterion of engagement, with all sorts of serious implications for their future teaching of mathematics. I use the poststructuralist notion of the intersecting forces of power/knowledge/desire to analyse some of the preservice teachers' conversations and submitted pieces of work to argue that these prospective teachers actively strive to protect their pupils (and themselves?) from the mathematics. While teacher 'desire' is rarely spoken of or indeed researched in mathematics education, I argue that we ignore it at our peril; it can move mountains or it can silently and imperceptibly ensure that everything in mathematics education remains just as regulated and unchanging as it has always been.