Using textbooks in the mathematics classroom – the teachers’ view
Madis Lepik, Barbro Grevholm and Antti Viholainen
Mathematics teachers’ self-reported practices of textbook use were investigated by a survey of more than 400 teachers in Estonia, Finland and Norway. Do they have different approaches in their use of textbooks and to what extent do they rely on textbooks in planning and preparing their lessons? What kinds of patterns characterize teachers’ practice when using textbooks in mathematics lessons? The answers to these questions indicate that in Estonia and Finland teachers have similar attitudes towards textbooks. They are responsible for the choice of book and the textbook has a strong effect on their didactical choices. In Norway the teachers are less dependent on the textbook. In Finland the textbook is the crucial resource for exercises while in Estonia and Norway teachers use other resources more often. The study reveals the limited use of the full potential of the textbook. Almost 45 % of the teachers use the textbook simply as an exercise book. As a result the pupils do not get the opportunity to fully exploit the book as a multifaceted learning resource.
Madis Lepik is Associate Professor of mathematics education at the Department of Mathematics, Tallinn University, Estonia. His research interests include teachers’ beliefs and professional development, textbook studies, and proof and proving.
Barbro Grevholm is Professor Emerita in didactics of mathematics at University of Agder in Norway and at Kristianstad University. She has been active in creating and developing the doctoral programmes in both universities and at Luleå University of Technology. She currently supervises doctoral students and has published in books and journals. From 2006 she was the leader of the network for research on mathematics textbooks in the Nordic and Baltic countries (supported by NordForsk).
Antti Viholainen (Ph. D) is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics and Mathematics, University of Eastern Finland. He has taught several courses in the mathematics teacher education program. His main research interests are mathematical orientations, mathematical reasoning and use of learning materials.