Unlatching the Gate – Helping Adult Students Learn Mathematics by Katherine Safford-Ramus, (2008)

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Armin Hollenstein


Katherine Safford-Ramus is an associate professor of mathematics at Saint Peter’s College, a Jesuit College in New Jersey, USA. She has been teaching introductory mathematics courses at the tertiary level for 24 years at a community college. This book is based on her doctoral thesis.
In Chapter 1, Unlatching the Gate deliberates a rich specra of conditions for, and peculiarities of, mathematics learning by adults in a formal environment. Influential theories and empirical findings in the fields of educational psychology, adult education and mathematics education are surveyed with a focus on adult learners and – of course –teachers and institutions. The text does not discuss empirical research undertaken by the author; it examines her broad personal teaching experience in the light of the above-mentioned body of knowledge and proposes directions for the development of adult mathematics education. In this sense, Unlatching the Gate is a theoretical book reflecting on practical issues. The target audience would be adult educators and students of post secondary mathematics education.

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Book Review
Author Biography

Armin Hollenstein, University of Bern

Armin Hollenstein is a lecturer in Educational Psychology at the Institute for Educational Science (University of Bern) and is co-leading two national projects concentrating on adult literacy.  After some initial years as a teacher in primary and high school, he started teaching and researching in the fields of mathematics education and classroom management at colleges for Teacher Education.  Over the last two decades he has been addressing the needs of future and inservice teachers in kindergarden, primary, secondary and high school. 

Main interests are:
• Mathematical literacy - diagnostics and facilitation in adult education
• The role of language in mathematics learning
• Research methodology - statistics and qualitative data analysis