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Participation and Mathematization in Introductory Algebra Classrooms: The Case of Sweden

Chapter in book
Authors Cecilia Kilhamn
Thomas Hillman
Roger Säljö
Published in Encountering Algebra. A Comparative Study of Classrooms in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the USA. Kilhamn C., Säljö R. (red.)
Pages 33-69
ISBN 978-3-030-17576-4
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 33-69
Language en
Subject categories Pedagogy


In the Swedish classrooms of this study, teachers valued student participation and student engagement in mathematical activities. Students were consistently given opportunities to communicate and to voice their ideas. Students shared their work in the context of the whole class, which they seemed happy to do, and they were praised by the teachers for their efforts and participation. Mathematical tasks and activities offered students opportunities to discuss in small groups, to investigate using manipulatives and to engage in creative processes. However, we saw little evidence of the process of mathematizing in terms of making connections and conjectures at an algebraic level. On most occasions during these early lessons, the participants engaged in the specific and concrete work of manipulating objects and finding correct answers rather than in attempting to address the problems as instances of algebraic reasoning involving variables and equations.

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