Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and Their Impact on Student Learning

Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and Their Impact on Student Learning

Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and Their Impact on Student Learning

Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches to Teaching and Their Impact on Student Learning

Synopsis

NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS ONLY: This is a revised edition of Experiencing School Mathematics first published in 1997 by Open University Press, © Jo Boaler. This revised edition is for sale in North America only.
The first book to provide direct evidence for the effectiveness of traditional and reform-oriented teaching methods, Experiencing School Mathematics reports on careful and extensive case studies of two schools that taught mathematics in totally different ways. Three hundred students were followed over three years, providing an unusual and important range of data, including observations, interviews, questionnaires, and assessments, to show the ways students' beliefs and understandings were shaped by the different approaches to mathematics teaching. The interviews that are reproduced in the book give compelling insights into what it meant to be a student in the classrooms of the two schools. Questions are raised about and new evidence is provided for:

• the ways in which "traditional" and "reform oriented" mathematics teaching approaches can impact student attitude, beliefs, and achievement;

• the effectiveness of different teaching methods in preparing students for the demands of the "real world" and the 21st century;

• the impact of tracking and heterogeneous ability grouping; and

• gender and teaching styles--the potential of different teaching approaches for the attainment of equity.

The book draws some radical new conclusions about the ways that traditional teaching methods lead to limited forms of knowledge that are ineffective in non-school settings.

This edition has been revised for the North American market to show the relevance of the study results in light of the U. S. reform movement, the "math wars" and debates about teachers, assessment, and tracking. The details of the study have been rewritten for an American audience and the results are compared with research conducted in the U. S. This is an important volume for mathematics teachers and researchers, education policymakers, and for students in mathematics education courses.

NOTE: This is a revised edition of Experiencing School Mathematics first published in 1997 by Open University Press, © Jo Boaler. This revised edition is for sale in North America only.

Excerpt

Alan H. Schoenfeld

University of California, Berkeley

I first read Jo Boaler's book Experiencing School Mathematics soon after it was published by the Open University Press in 1997. It was hard to find the book in the United States, but colleagues told me the search was worth it: Boaler's description of two very different English schools and the effects of the kinds of instruction the students in them received was interesting, at times apparently paradoxical, and, to put it simply, important.

Boaler's research took place in England, and it is about English schools—but no matter. Save for a few typically British quirks (e.g., students refer to their teachers as sir and miss), Boaler could have been describing events and environments I have seen in hundreds of classrooms across the United States. My reaction on reading the book was not simply "her descriptions ring true," which they do; it was, "I know those classrooms. I know the forms of instruction, and I recognize the ways in which students are reacting to it." That is important because Experiencing School Mathematics has a lot to say to Americans interested in mathematics instruction. More about that in a moment. Let me say something about what was in the original book, as well as the revised and expanded American edition now in your hands.

Experiencing School Mathematics is a multifaceted book. For 3 years, Boaler examined the experiences of students and teachers in two English schools, exploring multiple aspects of school cultures and the students' mathematics learning. She spent time with the teachers, coming to know them as individuals and understanding their approaches to instruction. She conducted extensive lesson observations, to the point where she could provide rich, thick descriptions of the "lived experiences" of the students . . .

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