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ERIC Number: EJ856299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1085-3545
Democracy from Mathematics: Co-Learning through Critical Study of Explanatory Texts
Ravetz, Jerome
Democracy & Education, v18 n3 p61-63 2009
Among the materials used for teaching are texts: written descriptions and explanations of the mathematical ideas. This work of interpretation is essential to the life of mathematics; in its absence, mathematical knowledge is nothing but squiggles on paper. Up to now, explanatory math texts have been used almost exclusively in an uncritical way. In the society of the classroom, criticism of the text can appear only as a display of ignorance or incompetence. All the work of critical interpretation has already been done for the learners, by the teacher. In this enforced passivity of learners lies one of the main causes of the bad state of learning and teaching in mathematics. Once teachers appreciate that the explanatory texts of mathematics are literary productions, they can easily adjust their understanding of their proper use in the classroom. Teachers and learners become partners in an exploration of understandings, rather than the active and passive elements in the transmission of dry, frequently incomprehensible truths. The selective discussion of texts can supplement, and even enhance, all the techniques whereby dedicated teachers overcome the inbuilt obstacles to success in their work.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A