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California DreamingReforming Mathematics Education$
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Suzanne Wilson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780300094329

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300094329.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 11 April 2021

“Ours Is Not to Reason Why. Just Invert and Multiply”: School Mathematics and Its Critics

“Ours Is Not to Reason Why. Just Invert and Multiply”: School Mathematics and Its Critics

Chapter:
(p.6) 2 “Ours Is Not to Reason Why. Just Invert and Multiply”: School Mathematics and Its Critics
Source:
California Dreaming
Author(s):

Suzanne M. Wilson

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300094329.003.0002

This chapter first looks at traditional mathematics in school, a mathematics that is not riddled with the stuff of high drama, a mathematics teaching that is predictable and familiar. In its familiar methods, classroom talk is highly predictable and tightly controlled, wherein midway through class the teacher assigns homework problems and students sit and answer quietly. In these classrooms, mathematics is presented as a collection of facts and procedures. Learning math is a process of practice and memorization, and this American script of teaching was most recently described in The Teaching Gap by James Stigler and James Hiebert. This chapter then discusses the critics of this style of mathematics education, citing just how students arrive at their answers through some magical operation rather than by the inductions of reason.

Keywords:   mathematics in school, learning math, American script of teaching, The Teaching Gap, James Stigler, James Hiebert, contemporary mathematics education

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