Teaching math

After the input about Intriguing maths I decided to consider the theory behind teaching of math. During the input, we explored Boalers research into the teaching of mathematics within two different settings.
Within the first setting the children were taught with the traditional set methods and procedures much like that of the 5-14 curriculum where the children were taught specific topics and were taught certain methods to solve problems. They found within this setting the children understood the rules and procedures for solving problems but Boaler found after time the children in this setting lost this information.
The second setting provided different math opportunities involving some degree of choice. The children were not provided with the answers or correct way of completing a calculation but were encouraged to find their own methods to finding answers and be able to give reason to their thinking. The setting did less textbook work which focused on specific topics. In this case Boaler found the children to have flexible thinking, can adapt their knowledge of one subject into another and adapt to new challenges.
Two psychologists that could give reasoning to the difference of these two settings and what the children got from their leaning. Piaget views cognitive development as a result of maturation and environmental experiences meaning the children’s original abilities in addition to the experiences they have been provided with have affected the way in which they process information provided. Therefore, the experience of the second setting would be an explanation for the different thinking processes when faced with a problem.
Vygotsky’s social development theory places more emphasis on cultural and social influences than Piaget. Vygotsky views social interaction as a vital part of development of thinking which can be seen within the second setting with teachers asking children to explain their thinking and discuss answers.
Therefore when teaching maths we should be looking into the best possible methods to ensure the children become effective learners and problem solvers.

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