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The Curriculum

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The Curriculum: At the pre-primary stage, all learning occurs through play rather than through didactic communication. Rather than the ro...

The Curriculum:

At the pre-primary stage, all learning occurs through play rather than through didactic communication. Rather than the rote learning of the number sequence, children need to learn and understand, in the context of small sets, the connection between word games and counting, and between counting and quantity. Making simple comparisons and classifications along one dimension at a time, and identifying shapes and symmetries, are appropriate skills to acquire at this stage. Encouraging children to use language to freely express one's thoughts and emotions, rather than in predetermined ways, is extremely important at this and at later stages.

Having children develop a positive attitude towards, and a liking for, Mathematics at the primary stage is as important, if not more than the cognitive skills and concepts that they acquire. Mathematical games, puzzles and stories help in developing a positive attitude and in making connections between mathematics and everyday thinking. It is important to note that mathematics is not just arithmetic. Besides numbers and number operations, due importance must be given to shapes, spatial understanding, patterns, measurement and data handling. The curriculum must explicitly incorporate the progression that learners make from the concrete to the abstract while acquiring concepts. Apart from computational skills, stress must be laid on identifying, expressing and explaining patterns, on estimation and approximation in solving problems, on making connections, and on the development of skills of language in communication and reasoning.

At the upper primary stage, students get the first taste of the power of Mathematics through the application of powerful abstract concepts that compress previous learning and experience. This enables them to revisit and consolidate basic concepts and skills learnt at the primary stage, which is essential from the point of view of achieving universal mathematical literacy. Students are introduced to algebraic notation and its use in solving problems and in generalisation, to the systematic study of space and shapes, and for consolidating their knowledge of measurement. Data handling, representation and interpretation form a significant part of the ability of dealing with information in general, which is an essential 'life skill'. The learning at this stage also offers an opportunity to enrich students' spatial reasoning and visualisation skills.

At the secondary stage, students begin to perceive the structure of Mathematics as a discipline. They become familiar with the characteristics of mathematical communication: carefully defined terms and concepts, the use of symbols to represent them, precisely stated propositions, and proofs justifying propositions. These aspects are developed particularly in the area of geometry. Students develop their facility with algebra, which is important not only in the application of mathematics, but also within mathematics in providing justifications and proofs. At this stage, students integrate the many concepts and skills that they have learnt into a problem-solving ability. Mathematical modelling, data analysis and interpretation taught at this stage can consolidate a high level of mathematical literacy. Individual and group exploration of connections and patterns, visualisation and generalisation, and making and proving conjectures are important at this stage, and can be encouraged through the use of appropriate tools that include concrete models as in Mathematics laboratories and computers.

The aim of the Mathematics curriculum at the higher secondary stage is to provide students with an appreciation of the wide variety of the application of Mathematics, and equip them with the basic tools that enable such application. A careful choice between the often conflicting demands of depth versus breadth needs to be made at this stage. The rapid explosion of Mathematics as a discipline, and of its range of application, favours an increase in the breadth of coverage. Such increase must be dictated by mathematical considerations of the importance of topics to be included. Topics that are more naturally the province of other disciplines may be left out of the Mathematics curriculum. The treatment of topics must have an objective, that is, the communication of mathematical insights and concepts, which naturally arouse the interest and curiosity of students.
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CLEAR CTET: The Curriculum
The Curriculum
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