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Vision for School Mathematics

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Vision for School Mathematics:  • Children learn to enjoy mathematics rather than fear it.  • Children learn important mathematics: ...

Vision for School Mathematics: 


• Children learn to enjoy mathematics rather than fear it. 
• Children learn important mathematics: Mathematics is more than for mulas and mechanical procedures. 
• Children see mathematics as something to talk about, to communicate through, to discuss among themselves, to work together on. 
• Children pose and solve meaningful problems. 
• Children use abstractions to perceive relation-ships, to see structures, to reason out things, to argue the truth or falsity of statements. 
• Children understand the basic structure of Mathematics: Arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, the basic content areas of school Mathematics, all offer a methodology for abstraction, structuration and generalisation. 
• Teachers engage every child in class with the conviction that everyone can learn mathematics.

 Many general tactics of problem solving can be taught progressively during the different stages of school: abstraction, quantification, analogy, case analysis, reduction to simpler situations, even guess-and-verify exercises, are useful in many problem-solving contexts. Moreover, when children learn a variety of approaches (over time), their toolkit becomes richer, and they also learn which approach is the best. Children also need exposure to the use of heuristics, or rules of thumb, rather than only believing that Mathematics is an 'exact science'. The estimation of quantities and approximating solutions is also essential skill. When a farmer estimates the yield of a particular crop, he uses considerable skills in estimation, approximation and optimisation. School Mathematics can play a significant role in developing such useful skills. 

Visualisation and representation are skills that Mathematics can help to develop. Modelling situations using quantities, shapes and forms are the best use of mathematics. Mathematical concepts can be represented in multiple ways, and these representations can serve a variety of purposes in different contexts. All of this adds to the power of Mathematics. For example, a function may be represented in algebraic form or in the form of a graph. The representation p/q can be used to denote a fraction as a part of the whole, but can also denote the quotient of two numbers, p and q. Learning this about fractions is as important, if not more, than learning the arithmetic of fractions. 

There is also a need to make connections between Mathematics and other subjects of study. When children learn to draw graphs, they should also be encouraged to think of functional relationships in the sciences, including geology. Our children need to appreciate the fact that Mathematics is an effective instrument in the study of science. 

The importance of systematic reasoning in Mathematics cannot be overemphasised, and is intimately tied to notions of aesthetics and elegance so dear to mathematicians. Proof is important, but in addition to deductive proof, children should also learn when pictures and constructions provide proof. Proof is a process that convinces a sceptical adversary; school mathematics should encourage proof as a systematic way of argumentation. The aim should be to develop arguments, evaluate arguments, make and investigate conjectures, and understand that there are various methods of reasoning. 

Mathematical communication is precise and employs unambiguous use of language and rigour in formulation, which are important characteristics of mathematical treatment. The use of jargon in Mathematics is deliberate, conscious and stylised. Mathematicians discuss what is appropriate notation since good notation is held in high esteem and believed to aid thought. As children grow older, they should be taught to appreciate the significance of such conventions and their use. For instance, this means that setting up of equations should get as much coverage as solving them. 

In discussing many of these skills and processes, we have referred to a multiplicity of approaches and procedures. These are all crucial for liberating school Mathematics from the tyranny of applying them only to those algorithms that are taught
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CLEAR CTET: Vision for School Mathematics
Vision for School Mathematics
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