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Research team

Mathematics Education

About this team

Team information


Per Nilsson

Research subject

The research team gathers around practice-based research of learning and teaching specific to mathematics. The focus is on characterizing, and understanding learning processes and concept formation in mathematics as well as the means by which such processes can be supported in the mathematics classroom. The methodology centers on the principles of design-based research in which researchers collaborate with school-teachers in mathematics. Our research interests are empirical, theoretical and mathematical.

Our empirical research interests concern mainly communication and reasoning in the mathematics classroom. We investigate – among other things – how effective communication in mathematics classroom is characterized, how students’ reasoning ability and conceptual development can be understood and enhanced. In particular we are interested in the role of teachers, in facilitating students’ ability to communicate and reason about and with mathematics. Two projects are based on comparing aspects of the Swedish and the Finnish educational system in mathematics. In one project we investigate how mathematical reasoning is orchestrated in Swedish and Finnish school books. In the second project, we study the practice-based part of teacher education in mathematics. The results make a contribution to the improvement of mathematics teaching in Swedish schools.

The theoretical focus concerns the development of an ontological and epistemological framework for conceptualizing students’ concept formation in mathematics. Here, we draw on the philosophical theory of semantic inferentialism, which is characterized by the fundamental idea that the ability to give and ask for reasons is the core of conceptual understanding.

Additionally, we have a strong mathematical focus that influences the empirical as well as theoretical research interests. One of the main topics we are dealing with concerns probability and statistics education. However, there are more topics that our research group is investigating, e.g. algebra, geometry, and number systems.