Flerspråkiga matematikklassrum : Diskurser i grundskolans matematikundervisning

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to investigate and analyze practices in multilingual mathematics classrooms in compulsory school in Sweden. By using ethnographic methods, mainly participant observation, data were collected in a number of multilingual mathematics classrooms in suburban areas of a major city. The data include field notes, interviews and informal conversations with students, teachers and school administrators. The analysis is based on a coordination of Foucault’s discourse theory and Skovsmose’s critical mathematics education. The socio-political viewpoint defines power as relational and as having an effect on school mathematics practices. Discourse, agency, foreground and identity are used as analytic tools. In five articles, the thesis investigates how the various discourses affect multilingual students’ agency, foreground and identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. The effects of students’ and teachers’ agency on discourse switching in multilingual mathematics classrooms are also investigated. The findings indicate that bilingual communication in the mathematics classroom enhances students’ identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. Language- and content-based instruction seems to do the same, though monolingual instruction may jeopardize students’ identities as bilinguals while the discourse may normalize Swedish and Swedishness exclusively. Focus on linguistic dimensions in mathematics build up a communicative reform-oriented school mathematics discourse. The competing and intersecting discourses available in the multilingual mathematics classroom affect students’ agency, foreground and identity formation as engaged mathematics learners. For example, a reform-oriented school mathematics discourse intersecting with a social-relational discourse affects students’ active agency allowing power relations to be negotiated. A principal conclusion is that the success or failure of multilingual students in multilingual mathematics classrooms cannot be explained in terms of language and cultural factors alone, but only in relation discourse, and to social and political conditions in society at large.