Mathematics in vocational education

Mathematics in vocational training
Foto: lisafx

Why should vocational students learn mathematics, what do they learn and how can mathematics education be organized on vocational programs? The research study aims to investigate mathematics education in vocational education, and its relation to the working life.

Research studies indicate that there is often a weak link between mathematics teaching in vocational education and the labour market. Consequently, the students may have problems when they enter the labour market, because their mathematical knowledge is not sufficient for the requirements that they encounter there. Previous research also shows that mathematics teachers often do not have much knowledge of the occupation that the students are trained for, which requires collaboration between mathematics teachers and vocational teachers to see how the mathematics education can get closer to the working life.

The aim of this project is to investigate the conditions of upper secondary mathematics teachers in vocational education for being able to relate their teaching to the students´ future professional activities. From those conditions, interventions are developed, aiming at investigating educational tools that are important for developing occupational-related teaching in mathematics for the vocational students.

The study uses an activity-theoretical perspective, where the impact of educational, organizational and social aspects on the development of mathematics education are investigated, based on interviews and classroom observations. The study will contribute to the knowledge of ways of strengthening the relationship between school mathematics and students’ future professions, thereby also of ways of improving their mathematical knowledge and increasing their interest in learning the subject.

The project is funded by Linköping University and is conducted in collaboration between researchers at the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning (IBL) and the Department of Mathematics (MAI)