Dragan Trninic

Email: mylastname <at> berkeley <dot> edu

About Me: I spent most of my life pursuing knowledge in a wide variety of fields. I studied to be a philosopher, archer, plumber, breakdancer, juggler, and a Soo Bahk Do expert, to name a few. Of everything I studied then, I loved mathematics best. My master’s thesis was on the Banach-Tarski paradox, sometimes whimsically stated as: “how to cut up a pea and reassemble it into the Sun.” In time, I realized I was most interested in human learning and development and decided to study that.

Research Interests: The consequences of enactivism for the would-be procedural/conceptual divide in educational research of mathematical cognition and instruction. I am interested in how actions become concepts and how insight into this can inform educational practice in the disciplines. My dissertation investigates the following question: If we take seriously the notion — suggested by contemporary accounts of embodied cognition — that mental concepts arise through physical and simulated actions, what are the implications for mathematics education practice and learning theory? In my research, I focus on the role of artifacts in learning, because I hold that:

  • artifacts constitute essential cultural “objects to think and act with”; furthermore,
  • philosophically, “Education is learning to use the tools humanity has found indispensable”; and
  • methodologically, artifacts render learning processes more visible for investigative scrutiny.

My recent thinking is on the role of enactive artifacts — essentially, rehearsed performances — across practices such as elementary mathematics, scythe harvesting, surfing, and martial arts. In addition to work by contemporary scholars, I am most inspired by the ideas of Lev Vygotsky, Nikolai Bernstein, and (recently) Ludwig Wittgenstein. Projects:

  • Kinemathics: enacted mathematics
  • MAP: Martial Arts Pedagogy
  • Familiar and Generic: a situation taxonomy of pedagogically effective problem contexts
  • PDMPS: Paradigmatic Didactical Mathematical Problematic Situations
  • Fractal Village