Finnish Teacher Guides in Mathematics : Resources for primary school teachers in designing teaching

Detta är en avhandling från Västerås : Mälardalen University

Sammanfattning: Previous research worldwide has shown that curriculum materials maintain a strong presence and constitute an important tool, artefact, in mathematics classrooms. Yet, there is a vast lack of research on the design and the characteristics of teacher guides. The thesis aims to: 1) investigate the features of the Finnish teacher guides for mathematics at primary school and 2) map the cultural specificities and norms for classroom practices as construed in Finnish teacher guides. The data consist of nine Finnish teacher guides in mathematics (belonging to three textbook series) for Grades 1-6 and comprise almost 90 percent of the teacher guides utilized in Finnish schools for 2008. These teacher guides are examined through three studies. In the first study, we developed an analytical tool based on Davis and Krajcik’s ideas about educative curriculum materials when analysing the teacher guides’ content. In the second study, we analysed a larger sample of the Finnish teacher guides using the same analytical tool, but extending the study to also analyse their form, i.e. their look, structure and voice. This study shows that there is a wide consensus on both the content and the form of the guides. While several educative aspects are weakly presented in the guides, the analysis shows that they offer rich and varied resources for teachers in their everyday work in designing and enacting mathematics teaching and hence, learning in practice. The third study delves more deeply into the characteristics of the support the guides offer to design mathematics classrooms. We characterize the cultural script of the reflected classroom practice by analysing the form and the function of the activities promoted in most of the guides. We found a relatively homogeneous script that promotes differentiation while keeping students in the same mathematical area, opportunities to participate in whole-class interaction that comprises a variety of activities, like mental calculation, games, problem-solving, individual and group work, and small piece of homework after every single lesson. The thesis contributes to the international research discourse on curriculum materials and in particular on teacher guides as resources for design of mathematics classroom in a specific educational context. The study is also of interest for teachers, and for text-book authors in developing teacher guides in line with research.