University of Tasmania
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Mathematics in school and life : implications for secondary mathematics

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posted on 2023-05-26, 04:49 authored by Faulkner, PS
Concerns have been expressed by employers that many young people coming into the workforce do not have the mathematical skills that are desired. Concerns have also been expressed about the increasing departure of school mathematics from the demands of daily life. These concerns are not confined to Australia and it is suggested that something may be amiss with the secondary mathematics curriculum. This study is concerned with identifying and closing any gaps that may exist between mathematics that is taught in secondary school and that practiced in daily life. This study opens with an investigation of the development of mathematics and mathematics education in order that the reasons for the mathematics that is currently taught in secondary schools can be best understood. Previous research regarding the mathematics that is used in everyday life is extended and compared with the mainstream syllabus of today as exhibited in text books used in the classroom. The lessons that have been learned from observations of past and present practices are finally drawn together to propose a new secondary mathematics course. In addition to improving the numeracy of students, it is expected that additional benefits will accrue in the reduction of the common anxiety in students that is associated with mathematics, and an easing of the ever-increasing shortage of specialist mathematics teachers. The solution that is offered is to approach secondary mathematics from a lateral point of view with the design of a bipartite course. The core or compulsory syllabus of the proposed course concentrates on the mathematics found in daily life so that all students leave school familiar and confident in their ability to perform simple mathematical tasks with a high degree of accuracy time after time. Those students who have a deeper interest in mathematics would be able to choos e an elective mathematics syllabus where they can study with others of a like mind.


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Copyright 2009 the author

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