Part of the School Seminar Series
Speaker: Professor Martha Alibali, Psychology, University of Wisconsin
Host: Kita Sotaro
Learners vary in their perceptual encoding of mathematical objects and inscriptions,and in the actions they perform when solving mathematics problems. In this talk, Iargue that a focus on perception and action can enrich our conceptions ofmathematical thinking, learning, and instruction. The talk will proceed in threeparts. First, I will consider learners’ perceptual encoding of mathematics problems. Iwill argue that perceptual encoding guides problem-solving actions and generationof problem-solving strategies. Second, I will consider the role of physical actions inmathematical problem solving. I will argue that mathematical actions are oftengrounded in physical actions, and as a consequence, physical actions can also affectmathematical thinking. Finally, I will consider how mathematics instruction guideslearners’ perceptions of mathematics problems and their mathematical actions.Teachers use instructional gestures and speech to guide students’ encoding and toexpress the physical grounding of mathematical concepts and actions. Takentogether, these lines of work contribute to knowledge about learners’ perceptionsand actions in mathematics, and in turn, to a deeper understanding of changeprocesses in mathematics learning.