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ERIC Number: EJ775299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Sep
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5785
The Spirit of the Subject: An Overview of Research on Teaching Proof
Bretscher, Nicola
Mathematics Teaching, n184 p3-4 Sep 2003
According to Alan Slonsom, "Mathematics without proof is like brandy without alcohol: the spirit of the subject is missing." This author relates how she became motivated to pick proof as an exciting topic to teach. It is important to distinguish between the usage of the word "proof" in everyday life and its meaning in a mathematical context. Proof in everyday life tends to take the form of evidence used to back up a statement. Mathematical proof is something quite distinct: evidence alone might support a conjecture but would not be sufficient to be called a proof. Popular literature defines mathematical proof as "a reasoned argument from accepted truths" (French and Stripp). This article is an overview of the author's research into approaches for teaching proof and focuses on four areas: what people mean by proof, pupil's common misconceptions, levels of proof, and teaching strategies.
Association of Teachers of Mathematics. Unit 7 Prime Industrial Park, Shaftesbury Street, Derby, DE23 8YB, UK. Tel: +44-1332-346599; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A