When is a mathematics education lecturer not a mathematics education lecturer?

2 min read

On the signature at the bottom of my emails it says ‘University Lecturer in Mathematics Education’. There is a link to my blog in that signature too. You can follow the link and you will find things on politics, economics, social theory, schools’ policy and very little on mathematics education.

“Fraud!” you might justifiably say, “you are not interested in mathematics education! You are not that interested in maths!”

I argue that my field of mathematics education is specifically the area of mathematics education research that is not mathematics education. I am interested in the aspects of mathematics education that are not researched in or are at the margins of mathematics education.

Mathematics and mathematics education cannot exist without the things that are not mathematics or not mathematics education. I am a contra maths educator exploring what defines the social, cultural, economic and political space for mathematics and mathematics education. For many mathematicians and mathematics educators, the boundaries are strong in order to contain the logical integrity of their field. To maintain a secure space of thought and cultures. Axioms and practices, cultures and collegialities. I feel those boundaries and am inclined to hop over them to see what is on the other side and what is being missed by those on the inside.

I am the mathematician (not doing maths) and mathematics educator outside the boundaries of mathematics education. I should start a Journal of Research into Not Mathematics Education. I like the logical symmetry and completeness, and the dialectic.

So if you see me over the boundary, waving at a distance, please meditate on Stevie Smith’s most well-known poem:

Not Waving but Drowning
BY STEVIE SMITH

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

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