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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Workplace mathematics of the bus conductors in Chennai, India
by Naresh, Nirmala, Ph.D., Illinois State University, 2008, 275; 3353093
Abstract (Summary)

Sociocultural dimensions of mathematical knowledge have greatly influenced research in the field of mathematics education in the past few decades, resulting in the rise of different areas of research that include ethnomathematics, everyday mathematics, situated cognition, and workplace mathematics. Although over the past 15 years, mathematics education research has begun to explore the nature of the mathematics used in different workplaces, very few studies have investigated the nature of workplace mathematics in India. Guided by the desire to add to the mathematics education research in India, the general aim of this study is to develop a better understanding of the mathematics used in everyday situations. To this end, I focused on the workplace mathematics of bus conductors in Chennai, India.

Saxe's emergent framework was used to explore the research purposes associated with this study. An instrumental case study approach was to investigate individual cases (bus conductors) to describe the phenomenon itself (their practice). Data collected included several on site observations, field notes, official documents, and formal and informal interviews with the bus conductors. All of the above data was organized to create a case study database.

Saxe's model was extended to accommodate the study's findings. Conductors' workplace mathematics was characterized using components of Saxe's framework. Evidence for the occurrence of form-function shifts within and between conductors' practices was noted. Analysis of interplay between conductors' workplace mathematics and school-mathematics indicated that conductors' appropriated and specialized school-taught mathematical knowledge in conjunction with the work-specific knowledge and artifacts specific to their work to accomplish emergent goals associated with their work-related mathematical activities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Presmeg, Norma C.
School: Illinois State University
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mathematics education, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Bus conductors, Ethnomathematics, India, Mental computation, Workplace in India, Workplace mathematics
Publication Number: 3353093
ISBN: 978-1-109-09302-5
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