Edited By Kevin Norley, Mehmet Ali Icbay and Hasan Arslan
The usage of the Biographies of Mathematicians in Elementary and Secondary Mathematics Textbooks
Since most of mathematical knowledge is abstract, it is extremely difficult to retrieve such knowledge from materials other than books (Altun, Arslan, & Yazgan, 2004). On that account, textbooks play a significant role as teaching tools (Altun, et al., 2004; Laçin-Şimşek, 2011; Sunar, 2012). Moreover, textbooks are among the crucial factors enabling students to acquire greater skills in mathematics (Dane, Doğar, & Balkı, 2004; Dayak, 1998); finally, they enable the selection of mathematical knowledge in an organised manner (Tang, Chen, & Zhang, 2010). Apart from these facts, the complexity and the abstract character of the concepts mentioned in mathematics textbooks, in addition to the weak relevance of the provided examples to real life and other similar factors, explain why students fail in mathematics (Dane, et al., 2004). In order to limit these negative effects, Ravitch (1989) reasonably suggested that the content of educational textbooks should be enriched with real-life examples. Swetz (1995) argued that integrating biographies of earlier mathematicians into textbooks could offer a historical insight to the content. Therefore, it is a necessity to use the biographies of mathematicians during the education process and when “presenting the textbooks which are the most important material of this process” (Dane, et al., 2004) in order to offer a more correct perspective on mathematics that enables a better understanding of this difficult subject. In this way, students can find out the names of those having contributed to the progress of mathematics and they...
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