At the Institute for Development and Research in Mathematics Education (IEEM), the design of learning environments and the empirical investigation of conditions and means is considered as a core task for improving and understanding learning processes. The central outcome of the research and development are domain-specific local instruction theories and conceptions for mathematics classrooms in all grades.
In doing so, the IEEM works in the paradigm of mathematics education as a design science as developed at the institute by the emeriti Prof. Wittmann and Prof. Müller and called into being within the scope of the project mathe 2000, which started in 1987. The core of mathematics education as a design science requires constructive didactic design work, developmental research and reconstructive empirical research into the specialties, requirements and structures of (case-related) teaching and learning processes. The background of both focus areas is the (elementary-) mathematical reconstruction of possible educational contents as well as taking account of the knowledge and work methods of neighboring disciplines like, for example, education, psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Development and research regarding mathematics teaching and learning is based on the basic assumption that individual teaching and learning processes are always closely related to their social context. That is why the development and research at the Institute is informed by constructivist approaches as well as by interactionist approaches emphasizing the importance of communication for the development of mathematical knowledge.
The intertwinement of constructive design, empirical research and theory development is reflected in the different projects of the institute and finds its expression in the
Here the interdisciplinary basics of didactics of mathematics and its theoretical foundations are developed with a special focus on fundamental ideas in mathematics, the individual conceptions of students and the mathematical contents that are to be invented as well as interactively discussed. On this basis, the structures of teaching, learning and communication processes are empirically examined. This guarantees a comprehensive investigation and development of comprehensive approaches for mathematics teaching and learning.
Here the focus area is the design of domain-specific conceptions and representative learning environments for teaching and learning processes in the particular grades and the particular transitions from primary school to lower secondary school or from lower secondary school to upper secondary school:
The design research at IEEM effects teacher education in multiple ways: The basic programmatic idea is to prepare prospective and practicing teachers as professionals for initiating, supporting, analyzing and reflecting processes of mathematics learning. These processes of professionalization are on the one hand based on the results of the institute’s development and research for mathematics classrooms, they are on the other hand themselves object of design research on teacher education. The design research has a substantial part of development for preservice and inservice courses, these developments are empirically investigated with regards to their effects.