Mathematics lecturers’ views on the teaching of mathematical modelling
Stephanie Treffert-Thomas, Olov Viirman, Paul Hernandez-Martinez and Yuriy Rogovchenko
The paper reports on the views and use of mathematical modelling (MM) in university mathematics courses in Norway from the perspective of lecturers. Our analysis includes a characterisation of MM views based on the modelling perspectives developed by Kaiser and Sriraman (2006). Through an online survey we aimed to identify the main perspectives held in higher education by mathematics lecturers and the underlying rationale for integrating (or not) MM in university courses. The results indicated that most respondents displayed a realistic perspective on MM when it came to their professional practice. There was a more varied response when it came to their views on MM in teaching. Regarding conditions influencing the use or non-use of MM in teaching, these mainly concerned the mathematical content and the institutional practices.
Stephanie Treffert-Thomas is a lecturer at Loughborough University (UK) with experience of teaching mathematics at school level, tertiary (college) level and at university, mainly to engineering students. Her research interests are in university level mathematics teaching and learning using socio-cultural educational theories. She has a particular interest in the mathematical teaching practices of lecturers, including the use of mathematical modelling in teaching.
When the research reported on in this paper was conducted, Olov Viirman was a postdoctoral researcher within the MatRIC centre at the University of Agder, Norway. He has recently taken up a position as senior lecturer at the University of Gävle, Sweden. His research is in university mathematics education, mainly focusing on the discursive practices of lecturers and students, and on the teaching and learning of mathematics, for instance mathematical modelling, in other academic disciplines.
Paul Hernandez-Martinez is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia, and a visiting fellow in the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University, UK. His research is in post-compulsory Mathematics Education, where he uses socio-cultural educational theories to investigate teaching-learning practices (e.g. Mathematical Modelling) that have the potential to develop in students rich mathematical meanings while at the same time create in them positive dispositions towards the subject.
Yuriy Rogovchenko is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. His research interests include qualitative theory of ordinary, functional and impulsive differential equations, mathematical modelling, and mathematics education related to teaching and learning of differential equations and mathematical modelling at university level.