Social representations as mediators of mathematics learning in multiethnic classrooms

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Drawing on socio-cultural theory, we understand the norms regulating the practices within the mathematics classroom as resulting from the social representations of the socially dominant groups and of the school culture related to what constitutes learning mathematics. Immigrant students, having their own personal histories as members of particular social groups, and having been in school traditions other than the one predominant in the host society, have their own images of what mathematics in school is about. Individuals interacting in the classroom are all re-interpreting the different episodes from the perspective of the social representations of the larger groups with which they identify themselves. In multiethnic classrooms different re-interpretations of the same norms clash. The lack of negotiation gives rise to obstacles to immigrant students' participation in the mathematical conversations and, therefore, interferes with the students' learning process. © 2005, I.S.P.A.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-104
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Cultural artefacts
  • Mediation
  • Multicultural mathematics classroom
  • Social representations
  • Socio-mathematical norms


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