Course Identification

Discursive diversity in mathematics and science education

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Dr. Alon Pinto, Dr. Jason Cooper

Course Schedule and Location

Second Semester
Monday, 10:30 - 12:00

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching: Lecture; Elective; Regular; 2.00 points




Any course in Cognition. Exceptions will be considered.



Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation

Required in at least 80% of the lectures

Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



Mathematics and science education may feel like the tower of Babel - involving many intersecting communities of practice (teachers, disciplinary scientists, education researchers, teacher educators, curriculum designers), each one characterized by particular practices and ways of communicating and thinking about the discipline and its teaching and learning. Furthermore, each of these communities is itself highly diverse - teachers may base learning on problem solving, investigation, or practicing procedures, and researchers may rely on fundamentally different theories of learning and of teaching that often make use of the same words (knowledge, learning, development, understanding) in crucially different ways. In spite, or perhaps in light of this epistemic diversity, collaborations across communities are prevalent in almost every aspect of mathematics and science education: research, teacher preparation and professional development, curriculum development, etc. However, achieving productive cross-community collaborations is far from trivial, and there are many examples demonstrating how epistemic diversity can lead to confusion, tensions, and incoherence in the growth of knowledge. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of literature about how epistemic diversity can be leveraged as resource to inspire new understandings and insights, which may not be available for each community on its own.

This course addresses epistemic diversity in mathematics and science education from a discursive perspective. We will examine similarities and differences in discourse across and within communities of practice, and explore the notion of collaborative learning from different theoretical perspectives, which we will apply in analyzing cases of cross-community collaboration in various contexts, for example:

  • Practitioner-researcher collaboration in the conduct of educational research.
  • Collaboration between teachers, teacher educators, educational researches and disciplinary experts in teacher preparation and professional development.
  • Collaboration between teachers from different grade levels and/or disciplines
  • Initiation of students from different backgrounds into educational research.
  • Theory networking within and across mathematics and science education.

The curriculum will be finalized based on the profiles and interests of participating students.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the course will be able to:

  • Reflect on the idea of discursive diversity in their own research discipline in general, and in relation to their practice (teaching, research or other) in particular.
  • Recognize various aspects of discursive diversity in the ways different communities of practice communicate about common ideas
  • Describe and analyze tensions and conflicts in cross-community communication that result from discursive diversity in cases of cross-community collaboration and learning.

Reading List


  1. Akkerman, S. F., & Bakker, A. (2011). Boundary crossing and boundary objects. Review of Educational Research, 81(2), 132-169.
  2. Cooper, J. (2019). Mathematicians and teachers sharing perspectives on teaching whole number arithmetic: boundary-crossing in professional development. ZDM, 51(1), 69-80.
  3. Jaworski, B. (2003). Research practice into/influencing mathematics teaching and learning development: Towards a theoretical framework based on co-learning partnerships. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 54(2), 249-282.
  4. Kali, Y., Eylon, B. S., McKenney, S., & Kidron, A. (2018). Design-centric research-practice partnerships: Three key lenses for building productive bridges between theory and practice. Learning, design, and technology. Cham: Springer.
  5. Kieran, C., Krainer, K., & Shaughnessy, J. M. (2012). Linking research to practice: Teachers as key stakeholders in mathematics education research. In M.A. Clements, A. Bishop, C. Keitel, J. Kilpatrick, & F. Leung (Eds.) Third International Handbook of Mathematics Education, Volume B (pp. 361-392). Dordrecht, the Netherland: Springer.
  6. Koichu, B., & Pinto, A. (2018). Developing Education Research Competencies in Mathematics Teachers Through TRAIL: Teacher-Researcher Alliance for Investigating Learning. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 18(1), 68-85.
  7. Labaree, D. F. (2003). The peculiar problems of preparing educational researchers. Educational researcher, 32(4), 13-22.
  8. Robutti, O., Aldon, G., Cusi, A., Olsher, S., Panero, M., Cooper, J., Prodromou, T. (2020). Boundary objects in mathematics education and their role across communities of teachers and researchers in interaction. In G. M. Lloyd (Ed.), Participants in mathematics teacher education (Vol. 3, International handbook of mathematics teacher education, O. Chapman, Ed.). Leiden/Boston: Brill Sense Publishers.
  9. Schoenfeld, A. H. (2009). Bridging the cultures of educational research and design. Educational Designer: Journal of the International Society for Design and Development in Education, 1(2).
  10. Star, S. L. (1989). The structure of ill-structured solutions: Boundary objects and heterogeneous distributed problem solving. In Distributed artificial intelligence (pp. 37-54). Morgan Kaufmann.