Source: Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Vol. 11, Number 2, 2008, pp. 89-105
Research suggests that understanding new images of mathematics is very challenging and can contribute to teacher resistance. An explicit exploration of personal views of mathematics may be necessary for pedagogical change. One possible way for exploring these images is through mathematical metaphors. As metaphors focus on similarities, they can be used to express already-held perceptions about the nature of mathematics. In addition to providing a way of talking about current views of mathematics, the analogous dimensions of metaphors can prompt new ways of thinking about these images.
In this article, I consider the use of metaphors as a strategy for explicating elementary teachers’ views of mathematics. I claim that the investigation of metaphors of mathematics helped create a shared communicative space and enhanced the quality of the discussion with the teachers. In particular, our exploration of the metaphor mathematics is a language encouraged a consideration of the humanistic dimensions of mathematics and contributed to a varied re-imaging of mathematics.