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ERIC Number: ED434859
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Pages: 26
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Symbol or Experience: A Mathematics Education Quandary Illustrated in the Context of Functions.
Kalchman, Mindy; Katz, Steven
The tension between providing opportunities for mathematical understandings and the need to teach widely-used notations and algorithms is explained in terms of a folk pedagogical conflict. Divergent pedagogical practices are shown to follow from different mental and epistemological assumptions and manifest themselves in equally divergent student problem solving strategies. Drawing on a popular Darwinian metaphor, algorithms and notations are interpreted as mathematical symbols that are meaningful only if they stand for a set of experiences. This relationship, which forms the basis of an experimental functions curriculum, is contrasted with the common pedagogical practice of substituting the symbol for the experience. The impact of the latter is illustrated by the poor performance of grade 11 students on a functions problem, while the former is argued to contribute to the success of grade 6 students on the same item. Contains 2 figures, a table of data, and 42 references. (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A