[Maths-Education]
Mathematics education seminars at the University of Manchester, 23
November
Anne Haworth
achaworth at djandac.demon.co.uk
Mon Nov 14 07:54:41 GMT 2005
Dear Colleagues
You are welcome to attend the following seminars by George Joseph and
Geoff Wake on Wednesday 23 November, 1400 - 1600 in room B4.3 of the
Humanities Lime Grove building of the University of Manchester.
George Joseph
The Tale of the Peacock
“East is East and West is West: Never the Twain shall Meet” is a
well-known quotation of Rudyard Kipling. Does this apply to
mathematics? In historical terms, the mathematics of Renaissance Europe
was influenced mainly by Greek mathematics through the media of Arab
mathematics, while Indian (and also Chinese) mathematics had
established their own unique traditions. In this talk, I argue that
some of the differences between mathematical traditions may be
explained by recognising whether a particular tradition sees the role
of mathematics to be establishing its claims with absolute certainty or
whether it sees mathematics as an empirical and practical discipline
whose principles and notions require only demonstration of
'plausiblity' in the fashion of modern scientific theories. As we will
find this rationalist and empiricist biases have profound implications
for the way mathematics evolved in the two traditions. We will also
find that when modern mathematics combines the two approaches by
synthesising the 'rationalist' and 'empiricist' orientations, this
could help to explain the puzzle described by the Nobel physicist
Eugene Wigner as “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in
modern science.
Geoff Wake
The Tale Wagging the Dog
What makes mathematics functional?
There is increasing recognition that current mathematics curricula do
not adequately equip people to use and apply mathematics effectively in
different spheres of their lives, for example, as learners, citizens
and workers. The UK is not alone in focusing on this problem and terms
such as quantitative literacy, mathematical literacy, numeracy, and
now, in the UK, functional mathematics, have been used to try to
capture the essence of what might form a new curriculum that ensures
that people are in future better equipped to use mathematical knowledge
and skills in a way that empowers them to solve problems and be able to
make critical and informed choices based on quantitative information.
In this presentation I explore what functional mathematics modules
might encompass in terms of their curriculum whilst giving some thought
to the implications for associated teaching/ pedagogy. In doing so I
draw on thinking from across the mathematics education community as
well as the work of our group in Manchester over the last two decades
in the field of mathematical modelling and applications.
Best wishes
Anne Haworth
Anne Haworth
Secondary PGCE Mathematics and Fast Track
School of Education
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PL
07973 513 441
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