Counting Girls Out (Studies in Mathematics Education)
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Counting Girls Out - Valerie Walkerdine - Google Книги
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Unpublished doctoral thesis, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne. The book tackles issues and prejudice and examines and puts into perspective many claims that have been made about women's minds. It also probes the relationship between evidence and explanation: Paperback , pages. Published July 1st by Routledge first published May 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Counting Girls Out , please sign up.
THE NATURE OF MATHEMATICS
Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. May 31, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is an extremely interesting book, even if it does confirm my suspicion that I am condemned to be a structuralist and never quite make it across to the wondrous world of post-structuralism.
Why is it that girls are worse at mathematics than boys? The fascinating answer this book gives is that there is precious little evidence that girls actually are worse at mathematics, it is just that everyone is convinced they are and often despite very clear evidence to the contrary. Now, you might think This is an extremely interesting book, even if it does confirm my suspicion that I am condemned to be a structuralist and never quite make it across to the wondrous world of post-structuralism.
A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MATHEMATICS EDUCATION
Now, you might think this would be an incredibly easy hypothesis to test — you know, maths is one of these things where there are right and wrong answers, not like, say, poetry where right and wrong can be harder to spot, and so, if you want to see how good someone is at maths all you need to do is give them a maths test. And if you want to see how good they are when compared to someone else or everyone else , well, give them all the same maths test and how well they do can be compared, on a graph if you like, or by some sort of statistical analysis showing how many standard deviations one person is over or under someone else.
Except, this is more or less what the research reported here did do. And the girls, more often than not, did at least as well as the boys.
And not just in primary school, but right through high school. When you ask their teachers about this you might think — given the objective measure provided by the test results — that they might say Jane is better at maths than Bob. But often they say the exact opposite. Jane has no natural flair and so only does well by the sheer force of her extreme efforts. This might sound like a kind of just-so story — except, time and again they found exactly this acted out in the classrooms, and this understanding of girls' apparent success and boys' apparent failure started insanely young.
This presents girls with a nearly insurmountable hurdle if they want to do maths. In post-structuralist terms, girls are denied a range of subject positions by the way that mathematical ability is defined as essentially male. One gets to choose to be either good at maths or good at being female - to be both is almost a contradiction in terms. It is not that teachers or students are actively seeking to exclude girls from mathematical knowledge, but that there are fundamental truths in our society that structure male power such that it is expressed via mathematical knowledge.
Our definitions of female: What I found particularly interesting was that the middle class girls here sought to remain little girls — as this, counter-intuitively, was a remarkably powerful location. This book ends in a way that might be unexpected. It sees mathematical knowledge as being fatally associated with male power structures and ways of knowing — ways that are about subduing nature, forcing it to our will and so on.
So, it isn't about finding ways of allowing girls to be better at maths - they are already good - but rather to find ways to make mathematics more in keeping with a better vision of the world. For example, I think the second last chapter of this book reports on some other research structuralist that was a content analysis of mathematics text books.
The ones that had been used in primary schools had lots of women in them — admittedly, these women were frequently in fact, almost entirely in negative positions. Furthermore, by secondary school women have virtually disappeared entirely from these texts. But this book repeatedly makes the point that a structuralist understanding of this situation misses the point. But to me this is precisely what these books do. It is absolutely clear to me that the author disagrees, but my problem is in seeing why. View all 16 comments. Whitemanrm rated it really liked it Apr 08, Suzanne rated it really liked it Apr 21, Sarah added it Jun 11, Leni marked it as to-read Mar 12,