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Chapter 1: Second-Grade Classroom: Psychological Perspective

Terry Wood
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Monograph
Vol. 6, Rethinking Elementary School Mathematics: Insights and Issues (1993), pp. 7-14+115-122
DOI: 10.2307/749928
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749928
Page Count: 16
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Chapter 1: Second-Grade Classroom: Psychological Perspective
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Abstract

"[Note: This Abstract Applies to all articles within this issue."] The intention of this monograph is to chronicle a field-based investigation of children's learning in one second-grade classroom over the course of the school year. In particular, the monograph illustrates the interrelated aspects of the processes by which children learn mathematics with meaning. Initially, the investigators intended to confine their investigation to cognitive analyses of children's learning in the classroom. However, it became apparent that a psychological perspective alone could not detail students' learning in the social setting of the classroom. Thus, the investigation was expanded to include a sociological analysis in an attempt to understand the relation between individual mathematical constructions and classroom social interactions. The empirically grounded theoretical perspective was informed by qualitative methodology that extended from clinical interviews of individual children's mathematical constructions to video recordings of classroom lessons. Thus, the nature of children's mathematical learning was analyzed in clinical interviews and in pair-collaborative as well as whole-class settings. Microanalyses of specific episodes from the classroom are included in the monograph to illustrate the nature of the social interaction that occurred in the classroom. Moreover, these episodes are included to illustrate the theoretical constructs that evolved over the course of the investigation and that were used to explain the processes by which mathematical learning occurs within a classroom setting, along with the concomitant issues that arise for students and teachers. Unintended ramifications of the project extended beyond the classroom to include the institution of the school as a part of the wider community. An interpretive stance also was used to inform an ethnographic investigation of the implications of change in the practices of elementary school mathematics on the wider sociopolitical setting of the community. Finally, the results of the studies presented are considered in light of the current concerns and goals for reform in mathematics education in a concluding commentary.

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