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Jo Boaler

Engage your learners through tasks proven to significantly promote reasoning and problem solving, which touch on many of the Mathematics Teaching Practices in Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. These tasks are discussed in this article, another installment in the series.

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Jo Boaler

In this report I offer an exploration of the insights that may be provided by a situated perspective on learning. Through an extension of my previous analysis of students learning mathematics in 2 schools (Boaler, 1998), I consider the ways in which a focus on the classroom community and the behaviors and practices implicit within such communities may increase one's understanding of students' mathematical knowledge production and use. The implications of such a focus for classroom pedagogy and assessment as well as for research in mathematics education are considered.

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Jo Boaler

Some researchers have expressed doubts about the potential of reform-oriented curricula to promote equity. This article considers this important issue and argues that investigations into equitable teaching must pay attention to the particular practices of teaching and learning that are enacted in classrooms. Data are presented from two studies in which middle school and high school teachers using reform-oriented mathematics curricula achieved a reduction in linguistic, ethnic, and class inequalities in their schools. The teaching and learning practices that these teachers employed were central to the attainment of equality, suggesting that it is critical that relational analyses of equity go beyond the curriculum to include the teacher and their teaching.

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Jo Boaler

This paper reports on 3-year case studies of 2 schools with alternative mathematical teaching approaches. One school used a traditional, textbook approach; the other used open-ended activities at all times. Using various forms of case study data, including observations, questionnaires, interviews, and quantitative assessments, I will show the ways in which the 2 approaches encouraged different forms of knowledge. Students who followed a traditional approach developed a procedural knowledge that was of limited use to them in unfamiliar situations. Students who learned mathematics in an open, project-based environment developed a conceptual understanding that provided them with advantages in a range of assessments and situations. The project students had been “apprenticed” into a system of thinking and using mathematics that helped them in both school and nonschool settings.

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Jo Boaler

This department publishes brief news articles, announcements and guest editorials on current mathematics education issues that stimulate the interest of TCM readers and cause them to think about an issue or consider a specific viewpoint about some aspect of mathematics education.

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Jo Boaler and Sarah Kate Selling

In a previous study of 2 schools in England that taught mathematics very differently, the first author found that a project-based mathematics approach resulted in higher achievement, greater understanding, and more appreciation of mathematics than a traditional approach. In this follow-up study, the first author contacted and interviewed a group of adults 8 years after they had left the 2 schools to investigate their knowledge use in life. This showed that the young adults who had experienced the 2 mathematics teaching approaches developed profoundly different relationships with mathematics knowledge that contributed towards the shaping of different identities as learners and users of mathematics (Boaler & Greeno, 2000). The adults from the project-based school had also moved into significantly more professional jobs, despite living in one of the lowest income areas of the country. In this article, we consider the different opportunities that the 2 school approaches offered for longterm relationships with mathematics and different forms of mathematical expertise that are differentially useful in the 21st century (Hatano & Oura, 2003).