SSRDM Blueprint

lundi 4 janvier 2010
par  floris

Swiss Society for Research in the Didactics of Mathematics

The goal of the Swiss Society for Research in the Didactics of Mathematics is the understanding of phenomena linked with the spreading of mathematical knowledge.

The science of the spreading of mathematical knowledge...

As a study of the spreading of mathematical knowledge, the didactics of mathematics stands next to epistemology and anthropology ; its interest in teaching facts is somewhat remote. Thus taking a distance seems to us necessary to understand didactic phenomena.

...belongs to basic research.

We want to underline that this is basic research. When regarded as a science, didactics of mathematics implies norms set for the purpose of knowledge of and research in "scientific truths". Let us make a clear distinction
between scientific norms and rules and "good teaching at school". A scientific approach to natural phenomena tells us neither how to "create" nature, nor how to "re-create" it, and even less how to "create it well", but it proves very useful to know how to "cope" with it.

Establishing theoretical models enables experimental reasoning...

As nature refuses to be "manipulated", scientific research grounds its progress on constructing models. These are used essentially to bridge given goals with conditions to reach them. Thus modelling provides tools for theoretical or technological reasonings of researchers. Scientific explanation, with its models, is no substitute for the phenomena that it accounts for ; it merely provides tools adjusted to certain conditions that rule the reality at stake. Testing is necessary to provide an evaluation of reasonings and of the models they rest upon. This is a crucial stage for anyone who tries to explain phenomena, as well as for anyone who wants to use them for other purposes. It is an experimental level that links scientific norms with the pedagogical ones of didactics.

...and works as go-between for the understanding and utilisation of phenomena.

Understanding and utilisation of phenomena are poles that are both complementary and irreducible, which means that moves towards understanding or utilisation keep autonomous. The interest that the didactics of mathematics may have in cultural and socially oriented matters should not be mistaken for a way of bypassing the subtle dialectics of understanding and undertaking, which cannot be spared. It is the intention of our association to provide space enough to move from one pole to the other.

Our intention is to organise and to cut out our investigation field according to what the study of didactic phenomena requires, and we want to question reality beyond its direct involvement with pedagogy.

The didactics of mathematics is an adventure,

We have chosen to be called Swiss Society for Research in the Didactics of Mathematics as a reminder of our prior aim, which is the understanding of didactic phenomena.

we are ready to get involved in, wherever it may lead us, at times limiting ourselves to the teaching process and to the behaviours implied, and at times investigating even behind the horizon of educational issues.

The utilisation’s planned are above all experimental ones and keep subjected to understanding requirements that we have delineated. There is no doubt as to school or university issues providing a privileged approach for didactics ; and it has to be admitted that for most of us research is in that line. Yet we want to have the liberty of widening and deepening our grasp of it all through the activities of our Society.

Our association deliberately keeps outside training and educational institutions.

Lausanne, autumn 1998


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