Proposal: Mathematics Learning, Studying, and Education

This is a thread in preparation for the vote on the names. Meanwhile there are already many proposed names and the idea of this thread is that via people voicing reasons for their respective preferences we can perhaps find some conensus to exclude some, or perhaps group some together (and decide details in a second round).

Here is the current list, takesn from an answer by Jim Belck plus an addition be me (the final one).

  1. Mathematics Learning, Studying, and Education (the current name)

  2. Mathematics Education

  3. Mathematics Teaching and Learning

  4. Mathematics Teaching

  5. Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy

  6. Teaching Mathematics

  7. Didactics of Mathematics

  8. Pedagogy of Mathematics

  9. Mathematics Pedagogy

  10. Mathematics Pedagogy and Teaching

An answer here should not be a vote but rather gving reasons to prefer one over the other, ideally discussing most or all the proposed names (see https://area51.meta.stackexchange.com/a/13104 for an example).

  • Mathematics Education is my vote. It's general and brief. It encompasses all the others. Teaching and Pedagogy is a kind of tautology. Pedagogy: the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept. Feb 14, 2014 at 13:19
  • @GeoffPointer I explained in detail why I find this is a problematic name. Do you disagree this could be an issue? Do you not care if it is an issue? Something else?
    – quid
    Feb 15, 2014 at 13:39
  • You didn't explain why you don't like the "education" word you just said it doesn't "feel" fitting. That doesn't help anyone else know what you mean. In the English language, "education" is a very general word. In Australia, the government portfolio associated with teaching, learning, pedagogy, teachers, students, schools, curriculum, whatever, is just called Education. That's why I like it. It's brief and it's all encompassing. All the other suggestions are either too wordy or too limited. Feb 15, 2014 at 14:54
  • @GeoffPointer what do you mean I did not explain it? I said that the problem is that after mental translation it does not fit. In more detail, translating 'mathematics' and 'education' separately yields something that does not really correspond to 'mathematics education' but would be something completely unidiomatic or at best excessively bureaucratic. And, yes, for a government portfolio education fells fine, but the connotations the word has for me, are too broad/abstract for the intended purpose.
    – quid
    Feb 15, 2014 at 18:18
  • In addition few teaching mathematics would consider themselves as (the natural translation of) an "educator," since the mental image that this evokes is somebody working in a boarding school and (also) taking care the children brushed their teeths and related.
    – quid
    Feb 15, 2014 at 18:42
  • I meant exactly that: you did not "explain" it you just "stated" it doesn't "feel" fitting. I'm not a mind reader I can't guess why it's not fitting. In your above comments you are beginning to explain it. Even saying it sounds to you excessively bureaucratic doesn't really explain it to someone who is not amidst your culture. I still don't get where you're coming from and I am trying to understand. Feb 16, 2014 at 0:58
  • Example: The difference between police in Australia and police in a country where human rights are a big issue. Many immigrants here are afraid and suspicious of our police due to various bad experiences many of them have had back in the country they've left behind. If you understand and appreciate both cultures you can understand where the immigrants are coming from. They still none the less have to come to terms with our police. I get in your case that you don't like the word for some reason, but the reason is not yet apparent to me. I'm not having a go at you, I do want to understand why. Feb 16, 2014 at 1:06
  • @GeoffPointer thank you for the example. It is not that I do not like the (translated) word itself. It is just it would not be used in this compound. Physical education or music education would work also language education, but mathemtics education not really. Also, say, swimming education would not work neither violin education. The point is that education is a more abstract and vaguer notion.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 1:29
  • Okay. Even assuming I fully understand your issue, English is none the less a different language and Education is a word used differently than in your language. The site will be in English and I've made a comment about that issue on the name voting page. Feb 16, 2014 at 1:41
  • @GeoffPointer yeah, but as far as I can see Education is not the only way this could be expressed in English. Why must you insist on that one.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 1:43
  • 1
    It seems to me that we all agree that a site that specialises on issues particularly associated with the pedagogy of mathematics is warranted. So, Mathematics has to be one word in the title, no argument. There needs to be at least one more word because it's not just another Q&A site. Exactly one more word would be ideal. I have tried and tried and tried some more to find one word that says it better. For example, Pedagogy is too academic and not a commonly used word. The word Education is the clear winner for me. It's unfortunate that it has unintended implications in your culture. Feb 16, 2014 at 2:02
  • @GeoffPointer Too academic, not commonly used? First I am not so sure about this. Second, it would actually be better. A main issue of many SE sites is they being overrun by people not well-informed about the subject. Everything that might scare them off should be used.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 2:09
  • As I've said elsewhere, the name is not going to make a lot of difference to negative consequences. People who are not bothered to find out more about a site beyond its name before they use it are not going to be very much influenced by whatever you call it. As for pedagogy, in pretty much every high school class in which I've ever taught maths or physics, I've also had to teach the meaning of the word pedagogy. It's certainly not a cool word amongst the vast majority of 15 to 25 year olds I've come across in my recent experience - virtual or real world. Feb 16, 2014 at 2:19
  • Also, words that sound like or are related to pedantry are jarring for many people. I use the term pedagogy myself in the sense of its accepted academic sense but many people I've come across find it at least a bit weird and often don't like it at all. Feb 16, 2014 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


Various of the proposed names seem good to me, however, for some I see issues.

As discussed, a key problem of the site could be to be clear that this is not for asking ones math question but something else entirely.

For me having "learning" in the title does not help here, and I really would like to avoid it. This excludes 1 and 3.

Also, I have some worries related to this with Teaching Mathematics. It sounds to much like a site for teaching mathematics, like a tutoring service or something (excluding 6). Same, but not as much so for Mathematics Teaching (excluding 4).

The word "education" for me does not feel fitting; I know it is standard (in the US), but still to me (after mental translation) it does not fit. I would at least not want to have only Mathematics Education (but do not have an objection as for learning against it). (Exluding 2). [This is a quite subjective argument but I believe this would/coudl be the same for others with similar language background.]

The remaining five are fine with me. But, it seems the word didactics is not so widely used in English, so let us exclude this; it might be similar for others as it is for me with education (excluding 7).

This leaves Pedagogy of Mathematics, Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy, Mathematics Pedagogy and Teaching, Mathematics Pedagogy.

I think it would be good to also mention the teaching; not all question will really be pedagogy question (and certainly not in a scientific sense), but quite hands-on question that come up while teaching a course. I think this should be reflected in the title. So:

'Mathematics Teaching and Pedagogy' or 'Mathematics Pedagogy and Teaching'.

I have a very slight preference for the latter, but this feels almost the same.

  • 1
    I agree with everything quid said in his post, and also prefer "Mathematics Pedagogy and Teaching." In addition, Mathematics Teaching is the name of the journal of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, so I think we should not use it.
    – JRN
    Feb 3, 2014 at 1:04
  • 1
    I agree with this. I have no issue with MP&T, but I kind of prefer the former because it flows off the tongue better (to me). But this is such a minor difference it doesn't much matter.
    – mme
    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:51
  • Again, in the English language, "learning" describes a process and the "process of learning" is studied by student teachers. We can't hide from this, the name won't fix the problem you are referring to and we have to develop far more serious and involved strategies to avoid the problem you indicate. Feb 16, 2014 at 2:28
  • @GeoffPointer it won't fix the problem alone, but it can help or not. It seems your experience with the medium is still a bit limited. Perhaps you should take opinions such as the one of Pete L. Clark a bit more serious.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 2:41
  • @quid I'm 57 years old, I've been a teacher for around 25 years and a very wide range of other experience besides. You're being a little patronising. I've always found that whatever you're talking about it's always way more than just the name. You can change a name but you can't change what's underneath by changing the name. I seriously believe that the name is not going to make that much difference and not because I'm not taking anyone seriously. Feb 16, 2014 at 4:57
  • You should name it for reasons that relate to what it is not to put off people who you think might end up being pests. A pest is a pest, whatever you do, anyone who isn't a pest and doesn't get what the site is about straight away won't take long to get it. Feb 16, 2014 at 4:58
  • 1
    @GeoffPointer I talked about the particular medium, SE sites. If you think the name will not make much differnece, I wonder why you expand so much effort in this discussion. I think it will make a difference, and Mathematics Education is not a good choice. So, if you are basically indifferent, why insist on it so much? And, I think the name I suggested relates quite well to what it is (or should be, in my mind). By contrast, as I said you are trying to be over inclusive regarding students,even wanting to target 15 year olds with the name.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 11:58
  • @quid You continue to make this personal. I am not indifferent. I find your last comment baffling. I give in. Feb 16, 2014 at 13:42
  • @GeoffPointer re "continue to make this personal" I merely clarified what I meant more precisely, so that you do not get away with the idea I question your competence in general. I do not know what other objection you have (as you did bring up the preferences of average 15 year olds as argument against using the word pedagogy).
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 14:17
  • I referred to "15 to 25 year olds" which have an average age of 20. Feb 16, 2014 at 21:34
  • @GeoffPointer My average was meant as typical, since you did not say anything that they were exceptional and not to exclude all 15 year olds. So, my assertion seems correct.
    – quid
    Feb 16, 2014 at 22:41
  • It's beginning to sound to me like you're just looking for an argument. The age range from 15 to 25 came off the top off my head because I'm thinking about education from senior high school through undergraduate university and beyond. Several people have already indicated they want high school teachers on board as well. You are not teaching anything if no-one is learning. There is a dialectic between teacher and student. A significant aspect of studying Education involves how people learn, so students need to be listened to in that process. This has been discussed else where already. Feb 17, 2014 at 1:21
  • This is not some casual whim of mine. We're going to have to agree to disagree. Feb 17, 2014 at 1:22
  • @GeoffPointer So I am looking for an argument and continue to be personal...you know the saying when you point a finger at someone. However, I agree, the question about the scope is a question where one can have different opinions. It is in my opinion important that this gets discussed. Yet, the comments of a thread on the name seem not optimal for this. Also it should not be just you and I who discuss this. Somehow our interaction did not start out so well. So, likely, for the moment it is really best we end this debate for the moment here as it does not really progress.
    – quid
    Feb 17, 2014 at 11:05

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