Who Should Learn Proving and Why: An Examination of Secondary Mathematics Teachers’ Perspectives
Samuel Otten 1 * , Mitchelle M Wambua 1 , Rajendran Govender 2
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1 University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA2 University of the Western Cape, SOUTH AFRICA* Corresponding Author


Reasoning-and-proving is a crucial part of students’ mathematical experiences in secondary school. There is scholarly debate, however, on the extent to which proving at the secondary level needs to be formal and whether all students should be held to disciplinary standards of rigor. In this study, we investigated the notion of “proof for all” from the perspective of secondary mathematics teachers. We analyzed, using the framework of practical rationality, the justifications teachers gave for whether or not all students should learn proof. Based on interviews with twenty-one secondary teachers from a socioeconomically-diverse set of schools, we found that teachers differ in their opinions of who should learn proving but they were similar in their feelings of obligation toward individual student learning; some teachers cited obligations to individual students as a justification for teaching proving to all students and others cited those obligations as a justification for not teaching proving to some students. We also share teachers’ perspective with regard to their obligations to the discipline, educational institutions, interpersonal dynamics among students, and the worldly relevance of mathematics education.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INT ELECT J MATH ED, Volume 16, Issue 3, October 2021, Article No: em0662


Publication date: 21 Oct 2021

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