NOMAD 14(3), 2009. Identities-in-action

Skapad: 2009-11-24. Ändrad: 2009-11-24  

NOMAD 14(3), 2009. Identities-in-action

Identities-in-action. Exploring the fragility of discourse and identity in learning mathematics

DIANA STENTOFT and PAOLA VALERO

Abstract

The notion of identity is often used in mathematics education research in an attempt to link individual and social understandings of mathematical learning. In this paper we review existing research making use of the notion of identity, and we point to some of the strengths and weaknesses in the ways the notion of identity is being constructed. We propose a conceptualization of the notion which points to the fragility and instability of identification processes as embedded into discourse. We contend that a notion of identity formulated from a poststructuralist perspective and emphasising the dialectic relationship between identification and discourse offers interesting possibilities for interpretations of mathematical learning as a fragile process characterised more by discontinuities and disruptions than by continuity and stability. We further argue that a poststructuralist notion of fragile identities in action allows us to bring attention to what is normally considered as ”noise” or ”impossibilities” in our understandings of mathematics education and classroom interaction.

Sammendrag

I forskningen om matematiklæring bliver et begreb om identitet ofte anvendt i forsøget på at forbinde individuelle og sociale forståelser af matematiklæring. I denne artikel gennemgår vi eksisterende forskning der anvender identitetsbegrebet, og vi peger på styrker og svagheder i konstrueringen af dette begreb. Vi foreslår en konceptualisering af identi-tetsbegrebet, der peger mod det skrøbelige og ustabile i identifikations-processen som den er indlejret i den diskursive praksis. Vi argumenterer for, at et identitetsbegreb formuleret fra en poststrukturalistisk synsvinkel og som fremhæver det dialektiske forhold mellem identitet og diskurs kan bidrage til interessante fortolkninger af matematiklæring som en skrøbelig proces karakteriseret mere ved diskontinuitet og forstyrrelse end ved sammenhæng og stabilitet. Vi fremhæver endvidere hvordan en poststrukturalistisk konstruktion af skrøbelige identiteter i bevægelse åbner op mod muligheder for at rette blikket mod det der sædvanligvis betragtes som ’larm’ og udelades i vores forståelse af matematiklæring og interaktion i klasseværelset.

DIANA STENTOFT
Diana Stentoft has a PhD in mathematics education and currently teach and do research in the Department of Education, Learning and Philosophy at Aalborg University, Denmark. Her research is primarily concerned with bringing issues of complexity and instability into contact with education research and practice by critically addressing elements often left behind in research.

PAOLA VALERO
Paola Valero is associate professor in mathematics education at the Department of Education, Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark. Her research interests are, among others, the political dimension of mathematics education in areas such as school reform processes, curricular innovation, and multiculturalism and mathematics learning.