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Topic: new book on teaching math
Replies: 2   Last Post: May 20, 1998 1:14 AM

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Andre TOOM

Posts: 549
Registered: 12/3/04
new book on teaching math
Posted: Apr 18, 1997 6:39 PM
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I have just received a copy of the new book
`Teaching Mathematics' written by several authors.

Much might be said about this book, but I want to concentrate
on pages 295-296 where the authors write inter alia:

``One research study analyzed problems, looking in particular
at the context used for the problem along with the mathematical
model used, if any. The conclusion was that problems provide
little value as far as convincing students of the usefulness
of mathematics... It seems ironic that problems changed
little over many years with studies showing little appeal to
students. How can we justify continuing in the same mode?..

Often a procedure is established for the student to follow as
the problem is worked. These procedures are beneficial to
completing the assigned task of doing a problem, but they are
damaging in that the student is almost programmed to follow
a routine... Procedures and organization such as this lead to
some difficulties for some students. Essentially, they become
specialists in a given problem type for the time it is being
studied. After the test is given, another problem type may be
discussed and developed. After a few days of dealing with the
second problem type, the first is forgotten...

Sticky Question: Should problems be solved when teaching
mathematics? Isn't it better, considering all the reserach
data, give up this practice that leads to so many failures?''

Andre Toom
Department of Mathematics
University of the Incarnate Word Tel. 210-646-0500 (h)
4301 Broadway 210-829-3170 (o)
San Antonio, Texas 78209-6318 Fax 210-829-3153

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