Activity theory and the teacher’s professional activity: an interpretation of the interactions between the teacher and resources.
Date and Time
Thursday 20 November: 1pm - 2pm
Host Research Group
Teachers of mathematics draw on and use a wide range of resources, as well as adapting these resources for purposes of teaching and learning (Adler, 2012). There is an increasing range and a wide availability of textual resources such as textbooks, and digital technologies /resources for teaching. My research, in investigating how mathematics teachers teach calculus will focus on the mathematics teachers’ professional activity, that is, the interactions between the teacher and resources. The teacher’s professional activity here is seen as a function of ‘the material resources, teaching activity, the teachers’ knowledge and beliefs, and the curriculum context’ (Adler, 2012, p.3). The approach I propose for this study has its roots in activity theory (Leontv’ev, 1981; Engeström 1987, 1999) which was founded by a Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky (1978). This study will use the Engeström (1987, p.78) Model of Activity Theory as a framework for interpreting a range of factors that interact together to impact on the teachers’ activity for which the goal or object is to teach calculus. My research attempts to investigate mathematics teacher ‘knowledge and practice’ as a tool to improve the teaching & learning of mathematics teaching and the teaching & learning of mathematics. Not only will the investigation seek to tap into ‘what they know’ but equally important, ‘what they do’. It will look into how secondary school teachers of mathematics in England teach calculus, with a particular focus on differentiation.