Strategies of Teaching Mathematics B.Ed Notes

The main aim of mathematics education in schools is the mathsmatisation of the child’s thought processes. In the words of David Wheeler, it is “more useful to know how to mathematise than to know a lot of mathematics”. According to George Polya, we can think of two kinds of aims for school education: a good and narrow aim that is turning out employable adults who contribute to social and economic development. A higher aim is developing the inner resources of the growing child. With regard to school mathematics, the former aim specifically relates to numeracy. Primary schools teach numbers and operations on them, measurement of quantities, fractions, percentages and ratios: all these are important for numeracy. The high aim focuses on developing a child’s inner resources. The role that mathematics plays is mostly about thinking. Clarity of thought and pursuing assumptions to logical conclusions is central to the mathematical enterprise. There are many ways of thinking, and the kind of thinking one learns in mathematics is an ability to handle abstractions. Even more importantly, mathematics offers is a way of doing things like to be able to solve mathematical problems, and more generally, to have the right attitude for problem solving and to be able to attack all kinds of problems in a systematic manner.

In the Indian context, there is a concern which has an impact on school education, namely that of universalisation of schooling. This has two important implications for the discussion on curriculum, especially mathematics. Firstly, schooling is a legal right, and mathematics being a compulsory subject of study, access to quality mathematics education is every child’s right. Keeping in mind the Indian reality, where few children have access to expensive material and mathematics education that is affordable and enjoyable to every child. This implies that the mathematics taught is situated in the child’s lived reality, and that for the system, it is not the subject that matters more than the child, but the other way about. Secondly, in a country where nearly half the children drop out of school during the elementary stage, mathematics curricula cannot be grounded only on preparation for higher secondary and university education. Still have a substantial proportion of children exiting the system after Class VIII. It is then fair to ask what eight years of school mathematics offers for such children in terms of the challenges they will face afterwards.

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