Original Research

Exploring teachers’ conceptions of representations in mathematics through the lens of positive deliberative interaction

Deonarain Brijlall, Sarah Bansilal, Deborah Moore-Russo
Pythagoras | Vol 33, No 2 | a165 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/pythagoras.v33i2.165 | © 2012 Deonarain Brijlall, Sarah Bansilal, Deborah Moore-Russo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2012 | Published: 04 December 2012

About the author(s)

Deonarain Brijlall, Department of Mathematics Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Sarah Bansilal, Department of Mathematics Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Deborah Moore-Russo, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, United States


This article reports on an exploration of teachers’ views on the meaning of mathematical representations in a democratic South Africa. We explored teachers’ conceptions of ‘mathematical representations’ as a means to promote dialogue and negotiation. These conceptions helped us to gauge how these teachers viewed representations in mathematics. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered to 76 high school mathematics teachers who were registered for an upgrading mathematics education qualification at a South African university. Common themes in teacher conceptions of representations were investigated as part of an inductive analysis of the written responses, which were considered in terms of practices that support dialogue and negotiation. Findings suggest that these conceptions are in line with progressive notions of classroom interactions such as the inquiry cooperation model. Furthermore, the findings suggest that teachers can support the development of classroom environments that promote democratic values.


democracy; deliberative interaction; mathematical representation


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