The December issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics has appeared (at least online), and it contains seven interesting articles. Several articles in this issue relate to affective issues like teachers’ conceptions (Thanheiser’s article), perspectives (Hemmi’s article), motivation and motivational profiles (Phelps’ article), anxiety (Bekdemir’s article), etc. Here is a complete list of the articles that appear in this issue:

- Investigating further preservice teachers’ conceptions of multidigit whole numbers: refining a framework, by Eva Thanheiser.
- So we decided to call “straight line” (…): Mathematics students’ interaction and negotiation of meaning in constructing a model of elliptic geometry, by Maria Kaisari and Tasos Patronis.
- Three styles characterising mathematicians’ pedagogical perspectives on proof, Kirsti Hemmi.
- Factors that pre-service elementary teachers perceive as affecting their motivational profiles in mathematics, by Christine M. Phelps.
- The pre-service teachers’ mathematics anxiety related to depth of negative experiences in mathematics classroom while they were students, by Mehmet Bekdemir.
- Truth and the renewal of knowledge: the case of mathematics education, by Tony Brown.
- Discussing a philosophical background for the ethnomathematical program, by Denise Silva Vilela.

Thanheiser, in her article, describes a study where she administered a survey to 33 pre-service teachers. The topic of the survey was related to addition and subtraction of multidigit whole numbers, and the respondents were students in an elementary mathematics methods course in the U.S. Apparently, these students were struggling when it came to explaining the mathematics that is underlying the algorithms they use.

The article by Kaisari and Patronis presents us with a glimpse in to the interesting field of elliptic geometry in the context of a university course. The article provides a nice introduction to the mathematical field of non-euclidean geometry, and the authors present and discuss data concerning students’ interaction concerning certain problems within this area of mathematics.

Hemmi’s article presents a very interesting (to me at least) focus on the pedagogical perspectives of mathematicians who teach mathematics at a Swedish university. The conceptual framework for the study builds upon the ideas of Lave and Wenger, but Säljö’s theories concerning artefacts and mediational tools are also included. Naturally, quite a lot of attention is also paid to mathematical proof. In the article, Hemmi presents a theoretical model of three teacher styles when it comes to perspectives on proof.

Like many of the other articles in this issue, Phelps also has a focus on pre-service teachers. Her focus is on their self-efficacy beliefs and learning goals. These beliefs and goals compose the motivational profiles of the pre-service teachers, and Phelps has interviewed 22 such pre-service teachers.

Many students have bad experiences with mathematics in school, and Bekdemir’s aim is to “examine whether the worst experiences and most troublesome mathematics classroom experience affect mathematics anxiety in pre-service elementary teachers” (quoted from the abstract). 167 senior elementary pre-service teachers participated in a study where three different instruments were used. The article provides a nice overview of previous research concerning mathematics anxiety, so if this is something you are interested in, you should check it out!

The article by Tony Brown is more of a theoretical article, and he provides a very interesting discussion of issues related to truth, objectivity and knowledge in mathematics education. One of the theories he introduces and makes use of in his discussion is that of Alain Badiou. This and other interesting theories are presented and discussed, and he ends up concluding/arguing that “the task of education is to ensure that people do not think that they should settle”.

Finally, Vilela’s article provides a discussion of Wittgenstein’s analytical framework, and whether such a framework might be relevant for a philosophical reflection concerning ethnomathematics. This article, which is also a theoretical article, provides interesting insight into the philosophical theories of Wittgenstein, and it might be seen as an attempt to build a philosophical basis for ethnomathematics based on these theories.

So, this issue of ESM should indeed have something of interest – if not for everyone, so at least for many researchers with different interests 🙂