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Architectures of School Mathematics: Vernaculars of the Function Concept

Koehler, Jacob Frias

This study focuses on the history of school mathematics through the discourse surrounding the function concept. The function concept has remained the central theme of school mathematics from the emergence of both obligatory schooling and the science of mathematics education. By understanding the scientific discourse of mathematics education as directly connected to larger issues of governance, technology, and industry, particular visions for students are described to highlight these connections. Descriptions from school mathematics focusing on expert curricular documents, developmental psychology, and district reform strategies, are meant to explain these different visions.
Despite continued historical inquiry in mathematics education, few studies have offered connections between the specific style of mathematics idealized in schools, the learning theories that accompanied these, and larger societal and cultural shifts. In exploring new theoretical tools from the history of science and technology this study seeks to connect shifting logic from efforts towards rational organization of capitalist society with the logic of school mathematics across the discursive space. This study seeks to understand this relationship by examining the ideals evinced in the protocols of educational science. In order to explore these architectures, the science of mathematics education and psychology are examined alongside the practices in the New York City public schools--the largest school system in the nation. To do so, the discourse of the function concept was viewed as a set of connections between mathematical content, psychology, and larger district reform projects. Four architectures--the mechanical, thermodynamic, cybernetic, and network models--are examined.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 14, 2016
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