Textual Construction of Middle School Math Students as “Thinkers”

Alayne Armstrong


This paper investigates how the mathematical performance of a group of middle school students might be characterized when the text breaks from tradition and constructs students as members of the mathematical community. Firstly, I will consider how a current Canadian textbook presents The Locker Problem through a depersonalized, formalized style that promotes its authority over the student-reader (Rotman, 2006). Next I will argue that the presentation of the problem through a Problem-of-the-Week (POW) format promotes the author/ity (Povey et al, 1990) of the student- reader over the text. Finally, I will present a classroom episode where a small group of students explore The Locker Problem based on the POW format. While some have argued that one can infer the experience of the student-reader through a text’s choice of words (Herbel-Eisenmann & Wagner, 2007), I suggest that the student-reader’s style of performing mathematics might also be inferred based on the text’s presentation of a problem.


textual representation; textbook

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20360/G2P30Q