The University of Montana
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Technical report #1/2012

Theories in Mathematics Education: some developments and ways forward

Bharath Sriraman
The University of Montana

Elena Nardi
University of East Anglia


In this survey of the state of the art, roots of mathematics education are traced from Piaget onto the current work on theorizing which utilize sociological and commognitive frameworks. Attention is given to the critiques of “Theories of Mathematics Education” (Sriraman & English, 2010), and productive discussions from the reviews are unpacked. The notions of “operational” versus “functional”, and “models” versus “theories” are also tackled by focusing on conceptual frameworks that harmonize the terms as opposed to exemplify their polarities.

Keywords: Models of Mathematics Education; Theories; Stage theories; Discursive frameworks; Philosophy of Knowledge; Structuralism; Conceptual Frameworks in Mathematics Education; Local theories versus Global theories; Operational definitions

AMS Subject Classification: 97

PRE-PRINT OF CHAPTER [B2] TO APPEAR IN The forthcoming Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education, Springer 2012. Edited by M. A. (Ken) Clements, Alan Bishop, Christine Keitel, Jeremy Kilpatrick, and Fred Leung. Pdf (138 KB)