Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg

Enactivism as a theoretical vantage point for research in mathematics education: case studies of three PhD projects.

von Marc Schäfer
Name der Institution: Rhodes University (ZA)
Art des Beitrags: Vortrag
Keiner Sektion zugeordnet

Enactivism as an emerging theory and philosophy of cognition and learning has gained a fair amount of momentum in the mathematics education research arena around the world. Enactivism has its roots in Merleu-Ponty’s phenomenological work of the sixties and Maturana and Varela’s work in the eighties on the biological understanding of cognition. More recently researchers such as Reid, Breen, Begg and Proulx have used enactivism as a theoretical lens in mathematics education research. Enactivism is underpinned by a strong philosophical notion that the body, mind and world are inseparable. The mind is not seen as disembodied from the physical being – nor from the environment. Enactivism emphasises that cognition is a complex co-evolving process of systems interacting and affecting each other within the body, mind and world spaces. In a learning and teaching situation, which is characterised by this complexity of interaction, the co-adaptation and co-evolution of the individual and the environment is foregrounded. Enactivism emphasises the embodiment of knowledge and suggests that knowing is doing. This paper engages with the theoretical underpinnings of enactivism by analyzing how three PhD projects have used this theory as their theoretical vantage point. In the first PhD, an enactivist perspective to learning is used to tease out how young adolescents make use of multiple visualizations to arrive at generalizations of pictorial linear patterns. In the second PhD an enactivist approach to curriculum design is applied to an in-service teacher education course in mathematics education, while the third PhD uses elements of enactivism to enhance and inform a framework for analysing teacher proficiency.

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