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Mathematics

Course: Mathematics
Group of courses: Mathematics, Natural Sciences

Teaching/course objectives:

Students should gain knowledge of the historical analyses, philosophical considerations and empirical findings of women's and gender studies in the field of mathematics. Students should be taught to reflect on mathematics, it's applications and teaching, from the point of view of the category of gender. They should also learn to organise their professional practice according to gender-sensitive criteria. Especially future teachers should acquire skills that enable them to identify their gender stereo typical effects in school and then question and implement changes.

Teaching content/subject-specific gender studies content:

Although mathematics was developed and practiced mainly by men over its long history, there is no scientific proof as yet of androcentric bias in its concepts and methods, or of constructions of gender in the subject. Women's and gender studies in the field of mathematics thus focuses on mathematicians themselves.

In the history of mathematics, this includes:

  • Biographical studies of female mathematicians from ancient to modern times, particularly their most recent contributions to mathematics in a historical context, and their conditions for study and work
  • Studies on the development of scientific institutions such as universities, academies and specialist mathematical societies, and particularly the gender relations in these institutions
  • Studies on women's education and university study, particularly in relation to mathematics
  • Studies on the development of mathematics teaching, particularly for girls
  • Studies on the career paths of female and male mathematicians, particularly outside the education sector, in the first half of the 20th century.

In philosophy of science, women's and gender studies in the field of mathematics draws on relevant research in the sciences and technology. Key aspects include:

  • Construction processes of gender hierarchies in and through science and technology in their cultural and social context
  • The concept of science in the natural sciences and the idea of objective knowledge
  • The inscription of gender relations into scientific knowledge.

Empirical studies have been carried out on various areas of mathematics. These include:

  • Work on the didactics of mathematics and their psychological and pedagogical basis. This work focuses on differences in performance in mathematics lessons between girls and boys and approaches to explaining these differences, and on differences in girls' and boys' interest in both content and forms of communication and interaction. It also looks at questions of coeducation, dramatisation and de-dramatisation of gender in mathematics lessons, gendering and de-gendering, as well as concepts for more gender-inclusive mathematics teaching
  • Sociologically and social-psychologically oriented studies on attitudes and self-assessments on the part of mathematics students. These focus on the appropriation of the culture of mathematics during university studies, subject-related self-confidence, envisaged professional and personal futures, ascriptions of gender to mathematics and the perception of gender relations
  • Sociologically and social-psychologically oriented studies on the professional biographies and careers of male and female mathematicians. These studies concentrate on gender relations in mathematics culture, gender relations in professional practice and the status of particularly successful women in mathematics.

Forms of integration of gender studies content into the curriculum:

Gender issues should ideally be integrated into the subject areas mathematics, mathematics and society, and the didactics of mathematics. The gender aspect should be explicitly mentioned in the course descriptions.

Specific gender modules (or partial modules) are also conceivable. Examples could include:

  1. Women in mathematics. This module should cover historical examples from the perspective of the development of mathematics and its organisation in society, as well as looking at the current careers situation in various areas of the profession
  2. Concepts for gender-inclusive mathematics teaching, including empirical findings of women's and gender studies in the area of mathematics teaching.

Degree stage:

The modules or partial modules aiming at encouraging reflection on gender are only suitable from the fourth semester onwards. In Bachelor's degrees for teachers, a suitable partial module on mathematics teaching could also be offered from the second semester.
All Master's degrees should offer opportunity to go into more depth on the subject.

Keywords:

Mathematics, Engineering Science, Applied Sciences, Computer Science