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Children Count

Exploring What is Possible in a Classroom with Mathematics and Children


Mary M. Stordy

Children Count is an interpretive exploration into the teaching of mathematics to children. Through the use of narratives to make meaning of particular pedagogic events, the book explores the possibilities that exist for children and for teachers if mathematics is allowed to thrive in schools as a living human enterprise. Such a re-conceptualized view of mathematics challenges the status quo and results in a different image of schooling. Children Count gives the reader a picture of what a classroom could look like when it includes creativity, inquiry-based learning, empowerment of children and teachers, academic rigor, holism, and integrated and generative curricula. The text captures the mistakes, choices, the actions, and the decision-making process of a teacher who reflects and learns from her students as she realizes she must listen to them because what they have to say counts.
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Chapter 3. Reconceptualized Mathematics


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Mathematics teaching is … not amoral, as it claims, but indisputably immoral. In allowing itself to forget that its subject matter is a humanity, it has become an inhumanity. It is thus that we have created a system that values compliance over creativity, that spawns destructive behavior by destroying our experience, and that conditions learners to reach for the formulae ahead of the imaginative. (Davis, 1996, p. 281)

The language in the above quotation by Brent Davis, past Canada Research Chair in Mathematics Education, seems, at first, strong. The subject matter of mathematics is actually a humanity, and now it has become an inhumanity. How has it come to pass? This chapter takes up the current nature of mathematics, that is, the way mathematics has come to be viewed in the world by both insiders and outsiders. I will begin by exploring the more commonly held public view of the nature of mathematics and the difficulties that it poses for mathematics educators and classroom teachers. I will then draw on the work of the reconceptualists in mathematics education to offer a different view—a more pedagogic view of the character of mathematics. ← 19 | 20 →

A Public View of Mathematics

There are many entry points for exploring the public view of mathematics. The traditional notion of mathematics as a body of knowledge that is objective, absolute, certain, and incorrigible rests on the foundations of deductive logic...

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