Mathematics Education And The Myth Of Mathematical Education

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Mathematics is a word that stirs up many mixed emotions within the general population. Three in every ten Americans report that they are not good at math, and for the most part their feelings towards math stay along the same guidelines. Mathematical education in a way can be compared to teaching a child to play the piano. At first they just watch someone play a tune, and are expected to copy it without knowing what the keys mean and without much practice. Some succeed and learn the names of the keys and how they go together while the others are stuck trying to memorize simple rhythms. Children having a lack in their mathematical ability can also stem from their learning environment because “sometimes the math teacher contributes to this myth. If the teacher claims to have had an entirely happy history of learning mathematics, she may contribute to the idea that some people--specifically she--are gifted in mathematics, and others--the students--are not. A good teacher, to allay this myth, brings in the scratch sheet of paper he used in working out the problem, to share with the class the many false starts he had to make before solving it” (Tobias, pg 53). Many people believe the misconception that the ability to do mathematics is genetic; either someone has it or they do not. This is simply not true, but a purely mental concept. An experiment conducted by researchers at Stanford and Columbia found that when they told the students that mathematical ability is a myth showed
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