Importance Of Mathematics In Everyday Life PDF

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Reasons For The study

As much as I would like for this study to have been initiated by my own brilliant ideas, claiming so would be wrong.

After having finished my Master of Science thesis, in which I discussed the use of history in teaching according to the so-called genetic principle, I was already determined to go for a doctorate.

I only had vague ideas about what the focus of such a study could be until my supervisor one day suggested ‘everyday mathematics’.

Having thought about that for a while, many pieces of a puzzle I hardly knew existed seemed to fit into a beautiful picture.

I could only wish it was a picture that originated in my own mind, but it is not. In my MS thesis I indicated a theory of genesis that not only concerned incorporating the history of mathematical ideas,

methods and concepts, but was more a way of defining the learning of mathematics as a process of genesis, or development.

This process could be historically grounded, in what we might call historical genesis (or a historical genetic method), but we could also use concepts like logical genesis,

psychological genesis, contextual genesis or situated genesis of mathematical concepts and ideas to describe the idea.

The genetic principle is not a new idea, and it is believed by many to origin in the work of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), or even earlier.

Bacon’s natural method’ implied a teaching practice that starts with situations from everyday life:

When Bacon’s method is to be applied in teaching, everyday problems, the so-called specific cases, should be the outset, only later should mathematics be made abstract and theoretical.

Complete theorems should not be the starting point; instead such theorems should be worked out along the way (Bekken & Mosvold, 2003b, p. 86).

Reviewing my own work, I realised that genesis principles (often called a ‘genetic approach”) could be applied as a framework for theories of learning with connections to real life also.

When I discovered this, my entire work suddenly appeared to fall into place like the pieces of a marvellous puzzle. Since I cannot regard the image of this puzzle as my work only.

I will from now on use the pronoun ‘we’ instead of 1. A genesis perspective could be fruitful when studying almost any issue in mathematics education.

In this study we were particularly interested in ways of connecting mathematics with real or everyday life. We wanted to focus on the development of these ideas in history and within the individual.

Starting with an interest in connecting mathematics with real life, or what we could now place within a paradigm of contextual genesis, we also decided to focus on teachers and their teaching (particularly on experienced teachers).

The idea of studying experienced teachers could be linked with a famous statement that occurred in one of Niels Henrik Abel’s notebooks, and this could also serve as an introduction to our study:

AuthorReidar Mosvold
PDF Size2.6 MB


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