A text analysis of British Columbia's redesigned mathematics curriculum: From verbs to voice to values

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Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
During the ten years between 2009 and 2019, the British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Education envisioned, created, and mandated a redesigned curriculum for the province. There were significant structural changes in the curriculum – in particular, a move towards more competency-based standards than content-based ones – but this thesis will examine the way the document functions to frame mathematics, the learners, and the teachers in certain ways. Michael Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is used to examine the mathematics component of this curriculum, with a particular focus on his metafunctions. The analysis also draws on Candia Morgan and Beth Herbel-Eisenmann's work, who both use Halliday's metafunctions to analyse the language in different mathematics texts; and on teacher interviews that I conducted. In this analysis, I aim to find out how the choices made in the writing of the document—verb tense, use of pronouns, forms of address—function to produce meanings about teaching, learning and mathematics. Three aspects of the redesigned curriculum are highlighted: a) its author(s) and possible intended audiences – I investigate how the author presents themselves, how they address their audience, and the relationship between the author and audience, b) assumptions made about the nature of the teacher and child presented in the text, often indirectly, and c) characteristics of the text itself, including its clarity.
125 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Sinclair, Nathalie
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