Mathematics learning and teaching : a student’s perspective

Ansari, Tasnuva (2004) Mathematics learning and teaching : a student’s perspective. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 2 (1). pp. 12-14. ISSN 1740-5106


Learning of mathematics starts from when we begin to learn how to count. Then we use mathematics in our everyday lives, sometimes without even realizing. In these situations, what we needed to learn - the ‘basic numerical concepts’ - was nothing but a way of expressing ourselves (in a language), in order to communicate with and relate to others. Mathematical skills develop as we grow and get involved in more and more activities, for example: measuring flour while making cakes or maybe rushing to ‘the sale’ calculating (in our heads) how much money could be saved. What we need in these occasions is mostly common sense, a practical approach towards obtaining a solution and some prior experience. Everyday mathematics does not require the brains of an academic mathematician. Sometimes it is surprising how people even with barely any formal education can deal with calculations so quickly. From my own experience, I have seen people in Bangladesh without any academic background, dealing with calculations fairly quickly without any formal education, and there is the famous study of Brazilian street children. This article covers what learning maths actually requires.

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