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Contemporary Research in Adult and Lifelong Learning of Mathematics

Katherine Safford-Ramus, Jürgen Maaß, and Evelyn Süss-Stepancik, editors
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
ICME-13 Monographs
[Reviewed by
Brent Kelderman
, on

Contemporary Research in Adult and Lifelong Learning of Mathematics is a collection of 17 papers developed by participants in ICME-13 (the 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education) in Hamburg in July 2016.  Following an introductory chapter, the first part of the book (4 chapters) focuses on the topic of adult numeracy and its place in adult mathematical education.  The second four chapters discuss the student focus of adult mathematical education which is followed by four chapters on the teacher focus of adult mathematical education.  The last quarter of the book has overarching themes and ends with a chapter that summarizes the preceding chapters and gives guidance/suggestions for possible future research in this field.  Credit must be given to the editors, Safford-Ramus, Süss-Stepancik and Maaβ, and authors of this collection of papers for providing this unique collection of mathematics education research.

My first issue with this book is that the copy I received was missing the last page (though it doesn’t impact my enjoyment in reading this book), which I attribute to a minor error in my review copy.  My only other issue with this book is that the grammar of some of these chapters impeded the reading and understanding at times, which I attribute these grammatical issues to the fact that (I assume) that some of these articles were not written originally in English as many of the authors come from different countries and these issues may have been caused by translation.  (The countries represented are: Austria, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, Korea, India, Turkey, Brazil, Switzerland, Denmark, and the United States.) That being said, the fact that there are twelve different countries that are represented by the diversity of the authors brings multiple different perspectives of adult mathematical education from around the world.

One of the main emphases throughout the book (as seen by the fact that it is the focus of the first four chapters, but is referenced throughout) is the idea of numeracy, or more specifically the innumeracy problem that is prevalent in some countries, including the United States.  Other repeated points are the recurring themes and thoughts of both students (e.g. math anxiety) and teachers (e.g. they often teach the same way that they were taught). The various reasons for adult learning, including vocational training, lifelong learning, etc., are all discussed, bringing light to many potential research areas.

I would highly recommend this book for anybody that is involved in adult education, especially in the field of mathematics, and also for anybody that is wanting to pursue research topics in adult education, again especially in the field of mathematics.  The insights listed throughout these chapters can also be applied with all age groups of students, and thus could be beneficial for any mathematics educator.

Brent Kelderman is a high school math teacher at Millard West High School.


See the table of contents in the publisher's webpage.