[Maths-Education] Money Counts
Laurinda Brown
Laurinda.Brown@bristol.ac.uk
Thu, 09 Nov 2000 08:37:19 +0000
John Truran wrote:
>
> I was certainly producing a conservative response because I am conscious in
> my own country of how good mathematics (dare I say accurate mathematics) is
> so often disregarded by teachers (at all levels) and by
> administrators/politicians. Perhaps the question I have been feeling
> towards is really one about whether mathematics knowledge really does make
> a difference in this world (at least at the level of ordinary people) and
> how it is possible to demonstrate this to students.
>
> This os not very well put, but I would be very interested to read case
> studies of where sound mathematical arguments were actually listened to by
> people who initially had different agendas from the answers.
>From Laurinda Brown:
If students are not engaged by the mathematics that they do whether
'value for money' or within the mathematics itself then mathematics
certainly will not make a difference in the world of the students and
thence not in the wider world. I see myself as a mathematician and
teacher as well as a person/human being and mathematics makes the most
difference in my own world because of my engagement with it which also
allows me to be numerate in the sense of being aware of how mathematics
is used and using it in the way talked about in the book 'Innumeracy'.
I suppose what I try to do in classrooms is to work with students so
that they are listened to as they discuss mathematically ( and this
means their strong arguments in response to questions like 'why?'
'how?' 'what makes a difference?' 'what happens if?' etc and that they
learn the power of their thinking mathematically so that they can
achieve something they couldn't do without it. David Wheeler's
challenge of all children experiencing 'mathematising at least once in
their lives so they know what they are choosing away in deciding not to
study mathematics has certainly coloured my thinking. The lecture
in which this was said was entitled 'Humanising mathematics education'
and as he talked it started to snow gently - all in all an inspiring
event - a long time ago - but I believe that students will not
necessarily experience this power of mathematics internally for
themselves through someone else's political agenda. This does not mean
that I rule that possibility out. Mathematics makes a difference at the
level of ordinary people when it makes a difference at the level of the
students. This is the challenge I work with.
Laurinda
----------------------
Laurinda Brown
Laurinda.Brown@bristol.ac.uk
0117-9287019