The transition to secondary school geometry: can there be a “chain of school mathematics”?
Students mainly perceive the transition to secondary school as an opportunity to start their school career anew. Reality often proves them wrong, especially in the case of mathematics. In our paper, we briefly discuss children’s transition to secondary school as both an opportunity and a problem, with reference to the Greek context. In discussions about the transition to secondary school and its effect on the teaching and learning of mathematics, primary and secondary school teachers in Greece often depict school mathematics as a “chain” of concepts and procedures. With this metaphor as our reference point, we discuss how ideologies about the teaching of mathematics are enacted in both school levels. We will base our discussion on the analysis of extracts taken from dialogues in primary and secondary school mathematics classrooms in Greece. In our analysis, we employ a Peircean view of semiotics in an attempt to conceptualize students’ rushed introduction to rigor in justifying mathematical statements in secondary school. These extracts are part of a longitudinal study that aimed, on the one hand, to pinpoint discontinuities and continuities in the teaching of geometry between primary and secondary schools and, on the other, to investigate whether a set of curriculum material that we designed could serve as a link in the teaching of geometry between the two school levels.