ERIC Number: ED402162
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Philosophy of Teaching Mathematics.
There are selected philosophies in the teaching of mathematics which can provide guidance to the teacher in developing the curriculum and also a framework for teaching and learning. This paper discusses four such philosophies of teaching mathematics: Idealism, Realism, Experimentalism, and Existentialism. Idealism stresses that students live in an idea-centered mathematical world with mental development of the student as the primary goal of instruction. The mathematics curriculum is viewed here as part of the general education curriculum with abstract content prized higher than concrete or semi-concrete content. Realism emphasizes that a person can know the real world in whole or in part as it really is, and students can become more knowledgeable of the real world by attaining precise, measurable, stated objectives in mathematics. Experimentalism emphasizes students learning, that which is useful and utilitarian and also emphasizes problem solving and cooperative learning. Existentialism stresses individual choices made by a student in selecting sequential tasks and experiences in mathematics. It is concluded that the teacher needs to select to implement that philosophy which assists a student in attaining optimally. The use of diverse philosophies of education to provide for individual differences should assist each student in learning as much mathematics as possible. (JRH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For the 1995 version, see ED 379 149.