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  • 1.
    Viirman, Olov
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    Discursive practices of two university teachers on the concept of ’linear transformation’2011In: Developing mathematical thinking: Proceedings of the 35th Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, PME , 2011, Vol. 4, p. 311-320Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper reports on an ongoing study focusing on the teaching of functions in undergraduate courses in mathematics at three Swedish universities. In this paper two excerpts of lectures on linear transformations are analysed, using commognitive theory. The two teachers' discursive uses of the terms 'linearity' and 'linear transformation' are described, and potential consequences for student learning are presented. One lecture displays a strong mathematical content while lacking contextualization, while the other is well grounded in everyday experience, but with a lack of attention to mathematical detail potentially detrimental to student learning.

  • 2.
    Viirman, Olov
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Högskolan i Gävle.
    The function concept and university mathematics teaching2014Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis concerns the teaching of mathematics at university level, with a particular focus on the teaching of the function concept. The main aim of the thesis is describing and analysing the teaching practices of university mathematics teachers regarding the function concept, and how this concept is constituted through these practices. To this end, video recordings of lectures by seven mathematics teachers at three Swedish universities were analysed using a discursive perspective, Sfard’s commognitive framework. The observed teaching was traditional in form, with teachers using “chalk talk” – simultaneously talking and writing on the board. The results show that the teaching practices of the teachers belong to two distinct but intertwined discourses – a mathematical discourse, and a discourse of mathematics teaching. Classifications of important aspects of these discourses are presented, and it is found that the teachers’ discursive practices, while sharing overall form, still display considerable differences. Other results include an analysis of the levels of objectification displayed by the teachers in their discursive constitution of the function concept. The study contributes to a small but growing body of empirical research on university mathematics teaching practice.

  • 3.
    Viirman, Olov
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    The functions of function discourse: University mathematics teaching from a commognitive standpoint2014In: International journal of mathematical education in science and technology, ISSN 0020-739X, E-ISSN 1464-5211, Vol. 45, no 4, p. 512-527Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper addresses a topic within university mathematics education which has been somewhat underexplored: the teaching practices actually used by university mathematics teachers when giving lectures. The study investigates the teaching practices of seven Swedish university teachers on the topic of functions using a discursive approach, the commognitive framework of Sfard. In the paper a categorization of the construction and substantiation routines used by the teachers is presented, for instance various routines for constructing definitions and examples, and for verifying whether an example satisfies a given definition. The findings show that although the overall form of the lectures is similar, with teachers using ‘chalk talk’, and overt student participation limited to asking and answering questions, there are in fact significant differences in the way the teachers present and do mathematics in their lectures. These differences present themselves both on the level of discursive routines and on a more general level in how the process of doing mathematics is made visible in the teachers’ teaching practices. Moreover, I believe that many of the results of the study could be relevant for investigating the teaching of other mathematical topics.

  • 4.
    Viirman, Olov
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    What we talk about when we talk about functions: Characteristics of the function concept in the discursive practices of three university teachers2013In: Proceedings of the EightCongress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Educa / [ed] Behiye Ubuz, Çi ğ dem Haser, Maria Alessandra Mariotti, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey , 2013, p. 2466-2475Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Viirman, Olov
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    Attorps, Iris
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Electronics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    Tossavainen, Timo
    University of Eastern Finland .
    Different views – some Swedish mathematics students’ concept images of the function concept2010In: Nordisk matematikkdidaktikk, ISSN 1104-2176, Vol. 15, no 4, p. 5-24Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study analyses what kind of concept images a group of engineering and teacher students have of the function concept, and how these concept images are related to the historical development of this concept. The study was conducted using questionnaires, and 34 students at a Swedish university participated. It is found that the students primarily rely on operational conceptions of the function concept, with only a minority of students possessing structural conceptions. The definitions given by the students mostly resemble an 18th or 19th century view of functions. The study also indicates that the character of the definitions given in the textbooks used by the students affect their concept images.

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