Teaching for Learning Mathematics

Teaching for Learning Mathematics

Teaching for Learning Mathematics

Teaching for Learning Mathematics

Synopsis

Why do students find learning mathematics difficult? Can anything be done about this? What can we learn from mathematics lessons in which students are motivated to struggle with difficult mathematical ideas? How can teachers make sense of the research which is available, and use it to improve practice in real classrooms? This book explores the factors that influence young people's learning of mathematics. It uses a holistic, socio-culturally informed approach to show how all young people can be encouraged to engage with and learn mathematics. Rich examples from classroom practice are used to connect theory and practice. The role of mathematical tools, including information and communications technologies, is discussed. A key focus of the book is the link between teaching and learning, including different ways in which teachers can design and orchestrate mathematical learning environments. This important, accessible and relevant book is essential reading for student teachers of mathematics as well as all qualified mathematics teachers in secondary schools.

Excerpt

Children can say more than they realize and it is through coming to
understand what is meant by what is said that their cognitive skills
develop.

(Wertsch and Stone 1985:167)

Young people learn mathematics at school to educate them in some way for life outside school. This education has many possible purposes. It could be about learning to become an informed citizen. It could be about learning to appreciate the ways in which mathematics plays an increasingly important 'hidden' role in the life of the twenty-first century, for example in the growing computer games industry. It could be about education for the world of work. It could be about education for higher education after school. Or it could be about education for everyday life. These possible purposes relate to different mathematical practices, different ways of knowing mathematics, different mathematical objects, technologies and symbols and different ways of being empowered by mathematics.

Whatever the reason almost every young person in the world has to learn mathematics in school. Yet for many this is a difficult and increasingly disengaging experience. Why is this the case and can anything be done about it? What can we learn from mathematics lessons in which students are engaged and motivated to struggle with difficult mathematical ideas? What can we learn from research on teaching and learning mathematics? This book aims to address these questions and has been written for all those teachers, researchers and policy makers who want to encourage young people to become engaged with and learn mathematics.

Research-informed practice

Mathematics education research is a strong and developing area which draws from fields such as psychology, sociology, cognitive science and philosophy. There is an enormous literature on learning mathematics which could be of value to teachers and policy makers. However, most teachers are unaware of . . .

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