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Children Count

Exploring What is Possible in a Classroom with Mathematics and Children

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Mary M. Stordy

Children Count is an interpretive exploration into the teaching of mathematics to children. Through the use of narratives to make meaning of particular pedagogic events, the book explores the possibilities that exist for children and for teachers if mathematics is allowed to thrive in schools as a living human enterprise. Such a re-conceptualized view of mathematics challenges the status quo and results in a different image of schooling. Children Count gives the reader a picture of what a classroom could look like when it includes creativity, inquiry-based learning, empowerment of children and teachers, academic rigor, holism, and integrated and generative curricula. The text captures the mistakes, choices, the actions, and the decision-making process of a teacher who reflects and learns from her students as she realizes she must listen to them because what they have to say counts.
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Chapter 4. Hermeneutics: An Ontological Turn

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HERMENEUTICS: AN ONTOLOGICAL TURN

Introduction

I first came across the term ‘hermeneutics’ eight years ago during a chat with a researcher who was spending time at the school where I was teaching grade one. Making small talk, I remember asking the researcher what type of research he did, and he said, “Hermeneutics.” It was completely foreign to me. I confessed my ignorance and he went on to say something like, “It is concerned with what happens in the space between this and this.” As he spoke he motioned with his hands in the air. I found his response fascinating. Children began to pour into the classroom and all I was left with was this one sentence. My curiosity led me to seek out people and literature that could open up the word ‘hermeneutics’ for me. After my first graduate class on the topic, I felt like a whole world had cracked open, but I found the subject so slippery. Throughout the semester I tried to explain it to others who knew I was taking the graduate course. I would be asked, “What is this herma-hermen- what do you call it?” And I would find myself somewhat tongue-tied in response. I would say things such as the following:

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