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# Why do we teach what we teach in schools? PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Why do we teach what we teach in schools?. Lee Peng Yee 25-11-2008 Singapore. What is the area of a circle?. A = π r² A = ( π /4)d² d = diameter A = ½ cr c = circumference Why do we teach the poorest formula among the three?.

Why do we teach what we teach in schools?

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## Why do we teach what we teach in schools?

Lee Peng Yee

25-11-2008 Singapore

### What is the area of a circle?

• A = πr²

• A = (π/4)d² d = diameter

• A = ½ cr c = circumference

Why do we teach the poorest formula among the three?

## What happened in the past led to what school mathematics is today

### 10 story lines

• Spherical and other geometries spelled the fall of Euclidean geometry.

• Cartesian coordinates served as a bridge for the migration to take place from geometry to algebra.

• David Hilbert saved and killed Euclidean geometry.

### 10 story lines (cont’d)

• Algebra came from the Arab world and in time dominated school mathematics.

• In the years 1600 to 2000 geometry turned algebraic and algebra went structural and numerical.

• Chinese learn mathematics differently and they learn how before they learn why.

## We must also look into the future to learn what we should do today

### 10 story lines (cont’d)

• The fourth milestone in mathematics education after Euclidean geometry, calculus, pure mathematics is computation.

• The marriage of geometry and calculus gave birth to differential geometry.

### 10 story lines (cont’d)

• Mathematical models are no longer restricted to physical sciences.

• Mathematical tools go from exact to approximate and further to stochastic.

### Why we teach what we teach

• Rich in content and rich in examination questions

• For computation and for rigour

• For assessment though not assessment alone

• For knowledge and for the use of knowledge

### Why we teach… (cont’d)

• What we can relate to

• Statistics is a misfit

• Certain concepts must be taught early

• For workplace

## END

pengyee.lee@nie.edu.sg