MATHEMATICS AS A DISCIPLINE AND AS A SCHOOL COURSE: A SYSTEMIC COMPARATIVE STUDY CONDUCTED IN BRAZIL AND GREECE ABOUT THE IN-SERVICE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS’ CONSTRUCTIONS
In all hierarchical educational systems, the importance of the views of the school principals crucially affect the classroom practices and relationships amongst all the protagonists in the school unit. In this paper we adopt a soft systems theory approach, in order to investigate the views that in-service school principals hold about mathematics, both as a discipline within the system of all disciplines and as a course within the system of courses taught in school, thus attempting to comprehend the interactions between their views concerning mathematics and their organising mathematics as a course. Mathematics as a school course was investigated through a tri-focussed approach contrasting the symbolic/normative, the pragmatic representations and the desired/intentioned actions. A small scale (N=59) quantitative comparative study was conducted, including in-service school principals from Brazil (NB=29) and Greece (NG=30). The results of the conducted intra-cultural and inter-cultural comparisons suggest noematic convergences and divergences in the epistemic views about mathematics held by the Greek principals and their Brazilian counterparts, which are also evident in their views about mathematics as a school course, thus revealing intra- and inter- systemic interactions.