Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2012, Article ID 509485, 9 pages
Research Article

Children as Mathematicians: The Interplay between Discourse Structure, Mathematicising, and the Participatory Approach

University of Oulu, P.O. Box 2000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland

Received 7 December 2011; Accepted 25 December 2011

Academic Editor: M. Martin

Copyright © 2012 Sinikka Kaartinen and Timo Latomaa. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper investigates the discourse structure, mathematicising and the participatory approach in an early education classroom community whose pedagogy in the learning of mathematics draws on the sociocultural perspective. The social interactions of the classroom community, as well as the role of pre-symbolic sign vehicles as semiotic tools in supporting interaction building, mathematicising, and strategy selection, were subjected to a qualitative micro-level analysis based on applied discourse and semiotic procedures. The results of the study suggest that the young children's mathematical ability develops during the two-year observation period from nonverbal participation to verbal participation through the following core elements: attention to numeracy, the learning of number words, object counting and mathematical story telling. The iconic and indexical pre-symbolic sign vehicles and semiotic chaining applied in the learning situations provide the learning community with the means to structure their experiences of their everyday practise and to relate them to the culture of mathematicising.