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 = π r² A = ( π /4)d² d = diameter A = ½ cr c = circumference Why do we teach the poorest formula among the three?.

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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


Without knowing why, we shall not be able to design a good syllabus.


END

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