Symposium on the Occasion
of the 100th Anniversary of ICMI

(Rome, 5–8 March 2008)


The relationship between research and practice in mathematics education:
international examples of good practice

Jo Boaler (Marie Curie Professor, Sussex University)

An elusive and persistent gulf exists between research in mathematics education and the practices of mathematics classrooms, in many countries in the world. The gap that exists between what is known about effective teaching environments and what happens in most mathematics classrooms is important, not least because research results, if taken up, may hold the key to significant improvements. As researchers we would all like to uncover something of great value to others, something that makes a real difference to children and adults in their experiences of mathematics; unfortunately few of us do. The reason is not, I contend, because of the inadequacy of the research but because of the relationships between the knowledge that researchers produce and the learning of teachers and other end-users of research. The uptake of research is also limited by the relationships of policy makers to the research community. These different relationships, between research and practice, between researcher and teacher learning, and between research knowledge and policy, will be explored in this paper.

Jo Boaler (UK); reactor: João Da Ponte (Portugal)