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A critical analysis of mathematics learning by identifying learning and thinking skills implicit in Standard 8 algebra

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dc.contributor.author Slater P en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T11:05:45Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T11:05:45Z
dc.date.created 1994 en
dc.date.submitted 1995 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/105263
dc.description.abstract The reasons why mathematics is generally regarded as being a difficult subject are varied. One of the reasons could possibly be that the pupils either only partially have or have not systemized the necessary thinking or cognitive skills to be successful in mathematics, and this results in the present high failure rate. The purpose of this study is to explore the idea that students can be provided with an environment to become better thinkers and trying to identify the necessary thinking skills implicit in standard eight algebra. The rationale being that better thinkers will result in students who are better able to take what they have learnt and successfully use it in new situations by being able to transfer their knowledge. This would empower them to not only be able to solve problems that they were not taught, but to being able to apply their existing knowledge to non-academic situations as well. Analysis of results showed that it is possible to identify some specific thinking skills implicit at a Std. 8 level. Most importantly, the identification of the five main skills which students utilized in algebra became apparent, viz. prior knowledge, chunking, the transfer of knowledge, understanding the question being asked, and the presence of numbers. The interpretation of the data results in the suggesting of four changes that should not only improve teaching, but more importantly, improve the learning of mathematics, viz. laboratory and/or class time should be set aside for small group problem solving sessions; the problems that students are given to solve should be embedded in a real-world context and must require more than rote application of a previously learned formula; students should begin the problem-solving task by diagramming the information and/or writing a summary of the given information and the desired answer; teachers need to develop the habit of highlighting transferable skills. A challenge for educators then, perhaps in the next decade, is to improve student's learning of higher-order skills in mathematics. As far as future research is concerned, two important criteria are: that studies test basic theories of human learning and cognition, and that studies take place within the context of real students learning science and mathematics within real educational settings. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Education en
dc.subject Didactics (special school subjects) (from primary to secondary level) en
dc.title A critical analysis of mathematics learning by identifying learning and thinking skills implicit in Standard 8 algebra en
dc.type Masters degree en
dc.description.degree M Ed en


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