Mathematics in the Primary School

Mathematics in the Primary School

Mathematics in the Primary School

Mathematics in the Primary School

Synopsis

National Curriculum guidelines emphasise knowledge, understanding and skills. The author, an internationally recognised authority, provides teachers with a clear explanation of these principles, and explains the relation between understanding and skills, and describes their application to the teaching of mathematics. The book contains numerous activities to show how mathematics can be learnt in the primary classroom with understanding and enjoyment, including:

• formation of mathematical concepts

• construction of knowledge

• contents and structure of primary mathematics

Excerpt

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In the United Kingdom, ever since the early 1960s, there have been intensive efforts to improve mathematical education in our schools, by many intelligent, hard-working, and wellfunded persons. Nevertheless, in the late 1970s, the state of mathematical education in our schools was still such as to give cause for concern at governmental level. This led to the setting up of a governmental Committee of Enquiry, whose meetings continued over a period of three years. The first stage of this inquiry consisted of interviews with people chosen to represent a stratified sample of the population. One of the most striking things about these interviews is those which did not take place.

Both direct and indirect approaches were tried, the word ‘mathematics’ was replaced by ‘arithmetic’ or ‘everyday use of numbers’ but it was clear that the reason for people’s refusal to be interviewed was simply that the subject was mathematics…This apparently widespread perception amongst adults of mathematics as a daunting subject pervaded a great deal of the sample selection; half of the people approached as being appropriate for inclusion in the sample refused to take part.

Such had been the result, for them, of ten years of so-called mathematical education while at school. As the same report rightly observes:

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