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ERIC Number: EJ1125207
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1954
Students' Understanding of the Structure of Deductive Proof
Miyazaki, Mikio; Fujita, Taro; Jones, Keith
Educational Studies in Mathematics, v94 n2 p223-239 Feb 2017
While proof is central to mathematics, difficulties in the teaching and learning of proof are well-recognised internationally. Within the research literature, a number of theoretical frameworks relating to the teaching of different aspects of proof and proving are evident. In our work, we are focusing on secondary school students learning the structure of deductive proofs and, in this paper, we propose a theoretical framework based on this aspect of proof education. In our framework, we capture students' understanding of the structure of deductive proofs in terms of three levels of increasing sophistication: Pre-structural, Partial-structural, and Holistic-structural, with the Partial-structural level further divided into two sub-levels: Elemental and Relational. In this paper, we apply the framework to data from our classroom research in which secondary school students (aged 14) tackled a series of lessons that provided an introduction to proof problems involving congruent triangles. Using data from the transcribed lessons, we focus in particular on students who displayed the tendency to accept a proof that contained logical circularity. From the perspective of our framework, we illustrate what we argue are two independent aspects of Relational understanding of the Partial-structural level, those of universal instantiation and hypothetical syllogism, and contend that accepting logical circularity can be an indicator of lack of understanding of syllogism. These findings can inform how teaching approaches might be improved so that students develop a more secure understanding of deductive proofs and proving in geometry.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A