pp 1–15 | Cite as

Dialogic mathematics gatherings: encouraging the other women’s critical thinking on numeracy

  • Javier Díez-PalomarEmail author
Original Article


In this paper, dialogue among a group of adult women with basic adult education is examined. Women read books of mathematics in the context of a dialogic mathematics gathering (DMG). There is limited evidence in research on how adults develop their ‘numerical understanding’. The objective of this study is to analyze how adults engage in critical thinking on numeracy, expanding their skills when becoming critics as readers. Women participating in the DMG create a context in which they exchange reports of their personal experiences in making meaning for the mathematical objects appearing in the readings. Three different episodes are discussed, involving units of measurement, number system, and the concept of base. Using a methodological framework grounded on Freire’s work, evidence shows how those women unpack the mathematical meaning embedded in the readings, examining critically the objects discussed. DMGs result in a successful educational action to empower those women with low mathematics education experience.


Dialogic mathematics gatherings Numeracy Other women Adult learning 



This study was funded by Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (PEX19/00547).


  1. Addams, J. (1990). Twenty years at hull-house. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  2. Albers, P., Holbrook, T., & Flint, A. (2013). New methods of literacy research. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker, D. (2008). Using sand to count their number: Developing teachers’ cultural and social sensitivities. In J. Kalman & B. Street (Eds.), Preguntas sin respuestas. Lectura, escritura y matemáticas como prácticas sociales. Mexico DF: Siglo XXI.Google Scholar
  4. Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (2013). Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Boyer, C. B. (1986). Historia de la matemática. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.Google Scholar
  7. Christou, M., & Puigvert, L. (2011). The role of ‘Other Women’s current educational transformations. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 21(1), 77–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coben, D. (2006). What is specific about research in adult numeracy and mathematics education? Adults Learning Mathematics, 2(1), 18–32.Google Scholar
  9. Coben, D., Colwell, D., Macrae, S., Boaler, J., Brown, M., & Rhodes, V. (2003). Adult numeracy: Review of research and related literature. London: National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy.Google Scholar
  10. Collette, J. P. (1985). Historia de las matemáticas. Madrid: Siglo XXI.Google Scholar
  11. Condelli, L. (2006). A review of the literature in adult numeracy: Research and conceptual issues. Washington, DC: American Institue for Research.Google Scholar
  12. Díez-Palomar, J. (2017). Mathematics Dialogic Gatherings: A way to create new possibilities to learn mathematics. Adults Learning Mathematics, 12(1), 39–48.Google Scholar
  13. Díez-Palomar, J. (2018). Editorial. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal, 13(1), 4–6.Google Scholar
  14. Díez-Palomar, J., Hoogland, K., & Geiger, V. (2019). Numeracy in adult education: Discussing related concepts to enrich the numeracy assessment framework. CERME. Utrecht: ERME.Google Scholar
  15. Díez-Palomar, J., Menéndez, J. M., & Civil, M. (2011). Learning mathematics with adult learners: Drawing from parents’ perspective. Revista Latinoamericana de Investigación En Matemática Educativa, 14(1), 71–94.Google Scholar
  16. Díez-Palomar, J., & Molina, S. (2009). Family mathematics education: Building dialogic spaces for adult learning mathematics. In D. Kaye (Ed.), Proceedings of the Adults Learning Mathematics Annual Meeting. London (UK): LLU.Google Scholar
  17. FitzSimons, G. E. (2005). Can adult numeracy be taught? A Bernsteinian analysis. In M. Goos, C. Kanes, & R. Brown (Eds.), Mathematics education and society. Proceedings of the 4th international mathematics and society conference (pp. 155–165). Griffith University.Google Scholar
  18. FitzSimons, G. E., & Godden, G. L. (2000). Review of research on adults learning mathematics. In D. Coben, J. O’Donoghue, & G. FitzSimons (Eds.), Perspectives on adults learning mathematics. Research and practice (pp. 13–45). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Flecha, R. (2000). Sharing words: Theory and practice of dialogic learning. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  20. Flecha, R. (2014). Successful educational actions for inclusion and social cohesion in Europe. Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  21. Freire, P. (1970a). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Freire, P. (1970b). The adult literacy process as cultural action for freedom. Harvard Educational Review, 40(2), 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gal, I. (1993). Issues and challenges in adult numeracy. Philadelphia, PA: National Center on Adult Literacy.Google Scholar
  24. Gal, I. (2000). Adult numeracy development: Theory, research, practice. Series on Literacy: Research, Policy, and Practice. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gal, I., Alatorre, S., Close, S., Evans, J., Johansen, L., Maguire, T., Manly, M., & Tout, D. (2009). PIAAC numeracy: A conceptual framework. OECD Education Working Papers, 35. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  26. García-Carrión, R. (2015). What the dialogic literary gatherings did for me: The personal narrative of an 11-year-old boy in a rural community in England. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(10), 913–919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Garcia-Retamero, R., & Cokely, E. (2014). Using visual aids to help people with low numeracy make better decisions. In B. Anderson & J. Schulkin (Eds.), Numerical reasoning in judgments and decision making about health (pp. 153–174). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gee, J. P. (2004). An introduction to discourse analysis: Theory and method. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Geiger, V., Forgasz, H., & Goos, M. (2015a). A critical orientation to numeracy across the curriculum. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(4), 611–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Geiger, V., Goos, M., & Forgasz, H. (2015b). A rich interpretation of numeracy for the 21st century: A survey of the state of the field. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(4), 531–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gómez, A., Puigvert, L., & Flecha, R. (2011). Critical communicative methodology: Informing real social transformation through research. Qualitative Inquiry, 17(3), 235–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gómez, A., Racionero, S., & Sordé, T. (2010). Ten years of critical communicative methodology. International Review of Qualitative Research, 3(1), 17–43.Google Scholar
  33. Gutstein, E. (2006). Reading and writing the world with mathematics: Toward a pedagogy for social justice. New York: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  34. Habermas, J. (2002). On the pragmatics of social interaction: Preliminary studies in the theory of communicative action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hoogland, K., Auer, M., Díez-Palomar, J., O’Meara, N., & Van Groenestijn, M. (2019). Initiating a common european numeracy framework. CERME. Utrecht: ERME.Google Scholar
  36. Hoogland, K., Díez-Palomar, J., & Vliegenthart, M. (2018). Towards a European numeracy framework. Adults learning mathematics: Adults learning mathematics in a fractured world. London. Boundaries and bridges: ALM.Google Scholar
  37. Hoogland, K., & Tout, D. (2018). Computer-based assessment of mathematics into the twenty-first century: pressures and tensions. ZDM Mathematics Education, 50(4), 675–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ifrah, G. (1987). Las cifras: Historia de una gran invención. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.Google Scholar
  39. Jarvis, P. (2004). Adult education and lifelong learning: Theory and practice. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kaye, D. (2018). Defining adult and numeracy: An academic and political investigation. In K. Safford-Ramus, J. Maaß, & E. Süss-Stepancik (Eds.), Contemporary research in adult and lifelong learning of mathematics. ICME-13 Monographs (pp. 11–37). Cham: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kline, M. (1999). El pensamiento matemático de la antigüedad a nuestros días. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.Google Scholar
  42. Knijnik, G. (1996). Exclusão resistência: Educação matemática e legitimidade cultural. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Artes Médicas.Google Scholar
  43. Lyles, C. R., & Sarkar, U. (2015). Health literacy, vulnerable patients, and health information technology use: Where do we go from here?. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  44. McIntosh, A., Reys, B. J., & Reys, R. E. (1992). A proposed framework for examining basic number sense. For the Learning of Mathematics, 12(3), 2–8.Google Scholar
  45. Mercer, N., Warwick, P., Kershner, R., & Staarman, J. K. (2010). Can the interactive whiteboard help to provide ‘dialogic space ‘for children’s collaborative activity? Language and Education, 24(5), 367–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  47. Morton, T., McGuire, T., & Baynham, M. (2006). A literature review of research on teacher education in adult literacy, numerac, and ESOL. London: NRDC.Google Scholar
  48. Panthi, R. K., Luitel, B. C., & Belbase, S. (2018). Teachers’ perception of social justice in mathematics classrooms. REDIMAT, 7(1), 7–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peters, E. (2012). Beyond comprehension: The role of numeracy in judgments and decisions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(1), 31–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Reyna, V. F., Nelson, W. L., Han, P. K., & Dieckmann, N. F. (2009). How numeracy influences risk comprehension and medical decision making. Psychological Bulletin, 135(6), 943.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Safford-Ramus, K. (2017). Research in adult mathematics education: How far have we come, where might we go next? In C. Mac an Bhaird, J. Díez-Palomar, G. Griffiths, & A. O’Shea (Eds.), Numeracy: A critical skill in adult education. Maynooth: Maynooth University.Google Scholar
  52. Safford-Ramus, K., Keogh, J., O'Donoghue, J., & Maguire, T. (Eds.). (2018). Adults learning mathematics - A research forum 1993–2018. Celebrating 25 years: A lot done, a lot more yet to do. London: ALM.Google Scholar
  53. Safford-Ramus, K., Misra, P. K., & Maguire, T. (2016). The Troika of adult learners, lifelong learning, and mathematics. Learning from research, current paradoxes, tension, and promotional strategies. Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sanchez, M. (1999). Voices inside schoolsLa Verneda-Sant Martí: A school where people dare to dream. Harvard Educational Review, 69(3), 320–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stake, R. E. (2013). Multiple case study analysis. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  56. Tout, D., Coben, D., Geiger, V., Ginsburg, L., Hoogland, K., Maguire, T., et al. (2017). Review of the PIAAC numeracy assessment framework: Final report. Camberwell, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research and OECD.Google Scholar
  57. Tout, D., & Gal, I. (2015). Perspectives on numeracy: Reflections from international assessments. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(4), 691–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tygel, A. F., & Kirsch, R. (2016). Contributions of Paulo Freire for a critical data literacy: A popular education approach. The Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3), 108–121.Google Scholar
  59. UNESCO. (1978). Records of the general conference, 20th Session, Paris, 24 October to 28 November 1978, v. 1. Resolutions. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  60. Yasukawa, K., Rogers, A., Jackson, K., & Street, B. V. (2018). Numeracy as social practice: Global and local perspectives. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research. Design and methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations