Teaching mathematics with textbooks : a classroom and curricular perspective

Abstract: The thesis consists of four articles and a preamble that introduces the work and links the articles together. The overarching issue that guides this work concerns the textbooks and their use in mathematics teaching in Sweden. The intention of making four different studies was to be able to examine the textbooks and their use in the classroom from different perspectives. All parts of the thesis share the same focus, namely the relationship between the textbook and the curriculum. In this case, the curriculum is seen in a broad sense. It involves the intended, the implemented curriculum and the enacted curriculum. The work is guided by the traditions in the curriculum field in Sweden. This means that the choice of educational content and contextualization of teaching is emphasized. The mathematics textbook as an object is discussed from different points of view. Some important features and different conceptions of the textbook are highlighted, for example the authorization of a textbook and the role of the textbooks as links between the national guidelines and the teaching of mathematics in schools. The empirical study of the use of textbooks in classrooms is made up of two parts, one is mainly quantitative and the other is qualitative. The quantitative part of the classroom study shows that the textbook influences not only what kind of tasks the students are working with during the lessons, but also the examples the teacher presents on the board, what kind of concepts of mathematics are introduced and how they are introduced. The organization of the lessons is also discussed. In considerable parts of the lessons, students are working on an individual basis solving tasks in the textbook. From the qualitative part of the study, one could see that the teacher can get into difficulties because of too much reliance on the textbook. However, one could also recognize that there is room for maneuver and that the teacher sometimes uses this space and deviates from the book. It could for example happen when the teacher becomes aware of some mathematical aspects, which the textbook does not cover. It could also be the case that the teacher uses other resources than the textbook. In all, the study shows the relative autonomy of the mathematics teacher in relation to the most common teaching tool in Swedish classrooms - the textbook.