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ERIC Number: EJ1099543
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Mathematics and Literature: Educators' Perspectives on Utilizing a Reformative Approach to Bridge Two Cultures
Nesmith, Suzanne J.
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2008 n2 Sum 2008
The existence of two distinct cultures within our society, the arts and the sciences, was introduced by physicist C. P. Snow in his 1959 Reed Lecture at Cambridge University and was further illuminated by Snow in "The Two Cultures, a Second Look" (1964). Lamenting the existence of the cultural chasm while also fearing a widening of the schism, Snow opened a dialogue with the hope of reconciliation between the cultures. Fifty years later, although the chasm still exists, numerous entities and individuals within the cultures work to formulate the means by which the cultures may be bridged, and, subsequently, the chasm narrowed and eliminated. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is one such entity, and leaders of the group have worked since the council's establishment in 1920 to research, promote, and improve the teaching and learning of mathematics through innovative, reformative approaches. Reform-oriented curricula are built upon constructivist perspectives aimed at assisting students in utilizing their own unique backgrounds and experiences to develop a personal understanding of mathematical situations. One means of infusing personal experience into the mathematics curriculum, while also bridging the aforementioned cultures, is through the incorporation of children's literature, yet there exists great variance in the type, format, structure, and success of the methodology's implementation. Subsequently, while the reformative approach of mathematics literature integration presents as a means of building understanding by bridging the cultures of mathematics and the humanities, it is the educator's choices relevant to the approach which have the greatest impact on the outcomes of the approach.
Descriptors: Mathematics, Literature, Educational Change, Teacher Attitudes, Intellectual Disciplines, Educational Innovation, Barriers, Interdisciplinary Approach, Mathematics Curriculum, Integrated Curriculum, Elementary Education, Semi Structured Interviews, Elementary School Teachers, Observation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A