ERIC Number: ED241303
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Why Teach Mathematics? A Historical Study of the Justification Question.
Stanic, George M. A.
The basic problem which motivated this study is that the present universal support given the teaching of mathematics has led to a neglect of the justification question. That is, we are sometimes careless in presenting rationales for teaching mathematics and do not adequately consider the consequences of invoking particular rationales. The major purpose of the study was to identify and discuss answers to the question of why we should teach mathematics in order to provide some perspective for the present historical moment. Using the curriculum interest groups identified by Kliebard (i.e., humanists, developmentalists, social meliorists, social efficiency educators) as a framework for the research, the development of rationales for teaching mathematics was traced from 1890 to 1940. The historical data indicate that the humanist interest group, which emphasized the place of mathematics in the Western cultural heritage and the value of mathematics study for developing reasoning ability, faced a growing challenge from a developmentalist/social efficiency coalition which espoused a directly functional rationale for teaching mathematics. Based upon certain problematic responses by the humanists to the developmentalist/social efficiency coalition, present-day positions taken by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics were analyzed. (Author)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A