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Topic: A Constructivist Approach to Math METHODS
Replies: 2   Last Post: Aug 4, 1995 11:23 AM

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Ronald A Ward

Posts: 298
Registered: 12/4/04
A Constructivist Approach to Math METHODS
Posted: Aug 3, 1995 7:30 PM
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On June 16, Cathy Brady and Tad Watanabe tried to interest the NCTM-l
subscribers in a discussion of a "constructivist" approach. There
weren't many takers. Perhaps folks were already clear in their minds
about what such an approach to teaching mathematics content meant. But a
related subject--and one which might be more appropriate for the AMTE
Listserv--is a constructivist approach to math METHODS. What we do in
our preservice classes. Is there any interest in discussing such a topic
on either listserv? I'll try to kick things off and see if this goes
anywhere. This is not my area of expertise, so I really am interested in
learning about this and would appreciate it if those who are
knowledgeable would jump in right away!

As a STARTING POINT on this topic:

1. If constructing knowledge in any subject is a "highly active endeavor on
the part of the student," which requires "making connections between old and
new ideas,"

[And if making such connections requires REFLECTIVE thought];

2. If networks of ideas that presently exist in the learner's mind
[cognitive schema] are "the principal determining factors in how an idea
will be constructed,"

[And, if fitting an idea into such schema (assimilation) or modifying
such schema (accomodation) requires REFLECTIVE thought];

3. Then, would you agree that our job as math educators in facilitating a
constructivist approach to a math METHODS class is to involve our
students in tasks which encourage REFLECTIVE thought about the
CONCEPTS AND PROCEDURES OF MATH INSTRUCTION--whatever they are?

Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225
ronaward@henson.cc.wwu.edu

PS Quotations above are from Van De Walle [Longman, 1994]







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