Original Research

Student teachers’ perceptions of democracy in the mathematics classroom: Freedom, equality and dialogue

Wajeeh Daher
Pythagoras | Vol 33, No 2 | a158 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v33i2.158 | © 2012 Wajeeh Daher | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 February 2012 | Published: 10 December 2012

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Wajeeh Daher, Department of Educational Sciences, An-Najah National University, Palestine; Department of Mathematics Education, Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Israel

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This article studies student teachers’ perceptions of the pedagogic and didactic aspects of teaching and learning mathematics in a democratic classroom. It is concerned primarily with issues of democracy in the mathematics classroom, specifically freedom, equality and dialogue. The research was conducted in two mathematics teacher education classes, where students were in their third year of study to major in mathematics. To find these students’ perceptions of democracy in the mathematics classroom the first two stages of the constant comparison method were followed to arrive at categories of democratic and undemocratic acts. The participants in the research emphasised that instructors should refrain from giving some students more time or opportunities to express themselves or act in the mathematics classroom than other students, because this would make them feel unequal and possibly make them unwilling to participate further in the mathematics classroom. The participants also emphasised that instructors should not exert their power to stop the flow of students’ actions in the mathematics classroom, because this would trouble them and make them lose control of their actions. Further, the participants mentioned that instructors would do better to connect to students’ ways of doing mathematics, especially of defining mathematical terms, so that students appreciate the correct ways of doing mathematics and defining its terms.


Democracy; equality; dialogue; freedom; mathematics; classsroom


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