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Should the Teaching of Mathematics in Secondary Schools Be Resource Based?
Traditionally, the teaching of mathematics in secondary schools rarely included the use of resources other than a textbook. It was “satisfactory” because most of the students were included academically. In today’s jargon, to use the gardener’s learning styles; they were most likely math and logic learners.
The dominant pedagogue was “Chalk and Talk”. Simply put, it was a lecture-like approach followed by lots of worked exercises ranging from simple to more difficult (more complex) examples. There were few or no attempts to teach the problem-solving skills needed to solve unfamiliar problems.
With the introduction of all pupils into secondary education in the middle of the 20th century, the constant raising of the school-leaving age and the expectation of parents that their offspring should have the possibility of obtaining university degrees, Mathematics teachers had to work with students who could not learn only with the “Chalk and Talk” approach. Many able learners have found that math seems meaningless to them in real life and they have sought, when allowed, to leave their math classes for other subjects.
The “Chalk and Talk” approach did not help the slow learner to assimilate the mathematics he needed to survive as a citizen in modern society. Behavior problems abounded in math classes.
It became apparent to teachers, administrators, and curriculum writers that vast changes needed to be made in the teaching of mathematics. In Australia, businesses were demanding solutions to problems. They found that math graduates were not. This prompted curriculum writers to consider teaching approaches that would not only lead students to become true problem solvers, but also pedagogues that would enhance the learning of those who were not learning math and logic. It also meant that assessment procedures had to reflect the way particular subjects were taught.
Added to all this was the advent of the calculator (four operations, scientific and graphing calculators), which meant that many more real-life problems could be incorporated into a math lesson. The computer added further to this. At the same time, the time allocated to teaching mathematics was shrinking, particularly in secondary schools, with other subjects gaining this time.
The technological revolution meant that some subjects in the mathematics curriculum were redundant and therefore removed. The field of mathematics has expanded. The study of probability and statistics had grown considerably and was widely used in the community. Consequently, many new subjects have been added to the curriculum to reflect modern developments in mathematics and their use in the community.
Many of these new topics were not conducive to “Chalk and Talk”. Some required a hands-on approach; others needed the use of multimedia; and still others required the use of technology. The internet has become a valuable resource for real-life issues. Technology has often allowed the teacher to work more deeply in less time with their students.
Some of these resources could be used successfully in non-traditional assessment items. These evaluation techniques have often allowed non-mathematical-logical thinkers to achieve greater success.
More importantly, more and more students were starting to take more interest in math and do better. Teachers began to see fewer behavioral problems in their classrooms and more assignment work by students.
Thus, it became apparent to math educators that the pedagogue required to teach math to all high school students required the math department to create its own set of physical resources to create the best possible learning experiences for its students. students. So, the answer to the title of the article “Should teaching mathematics in secondary schools be resource-based? must be an emphatic “YES”.
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