MATHS 703 : What Can Be More Practical Than a Good Theory?


2022 Summer School (1220) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An analysis of theoretical perspectives that inform research in mathematics education, with a focus on learning theories, both social and psychological, and their implications for teaching and learning in mathematics.

Course Overview

This short seminar is intended for mathematics educators, mathematicians, and all those who are interested in the epistemological nature of mathematics, its teaching and learning. The seminar will revolve around the Commognitive Framework by Prof Anna Sfard from Haifa Univesity (Israel). 

Sfard, A. (2008). Thinking as communicating. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The framework offers eye-opening ideas on mathematical thinking and learning, and on how students can and should be supported in this challenging endeavor. The commognitive framework was introduced in 2008 and it has been praised for its breadth, depth and applicability to many educational settings, including small children, middle-schoolers, university students, and teacher training.
In a highly interactive and collaborative environment, we are going to discuss the subject in a critical manner based on contemporary research, and teaching-and-learning experiences that the seminar students bring to the classroom. Students' engagement, contribution, and collaboration are the key to the success of the seminar. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: MATHS 302 or significant teaching experience or department approval

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Master of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Use commognitive framework to discuss issues in Mathematics Education (Capability 1)
  2. Critically engage with each other's ideas and experiences (Capability 4)
  3. Contextualize their new knowledge in a broader disciplinary discourse (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Analyze teaching and learning situations through the studied theoretical lens (Capability 2 and 3)
  5. Generate opinions building on the scholarly literature (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Contextualize opinions in a broader social discourse (Capability 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework 100% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6

Special Requirements

Students' preparation to and active participation in the lessons are expected.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point graduate course in Mathematics Education. This is a Summer Semester "block" course, and then students are expected to invest around 6 hours in preparation for each course session. Once the sessions are over, students are expected to spend the regular 10 hours per week when working on final assignments.

For this course, you can expect 35 hours of course sessions and around 115 hours of self-directed studies.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities to complete components of the course.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Sfard, A. (2008). Thinking as communicating. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Additional readings will be assigned.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 02/11/2021 09:49 p.m.