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Breaking Customs in an Algebra Classroom for Mature Students and Providing Them With Opportunities to Engage in Theoretical Thinking

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Breaking Customs in an Algebra Classroom for Mature Students and Providing Them With Opportunities to Engage in Theoretical Thinking

Pileggi, Steven (2015) Breaking Customs in an Algebra Classroom for Mature Students and Providing Them With Opportunities to Engage in Theoretical Thinking. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

When an adult student returns to mathematics classes, it can sometimes be after a years- long absence, and often they may hold a negative attitude towards the subject as a whole. They arrive with a clear belief about what a mathematics classroom should look like, specifically with regards to the role of the teacher and the role of the student – a belief that has been formed over many years of exposure to ‘traditional’ mathematics classrooms. There are also certain customs that the students have come to believe should be features of all mathematics courses – that the teacher will lecture on how to solve the different kinds of problems they will encounter, that the teacher will always tell them whether their work is correct or incorrect, and that there is only one ‘acceptable’ method of solving a given mathematics problem. In this thesis we discuss a teaching approach that was taken in an algebra course designed for adults – a teaching approach that tried to break away from these customs. The Teachers of the course felt that by breaking custom they would be better able to succeed in achieving the three goals that they had set up for their course: First, they wanted to engage their students in theoretical thinking, following Sierpinska et. al’s (2002) model. Second, they wanted to respect and acknowledge the students’ different (mathematics) backgrounds and life goals. Third, they wanted their students to succeed in the institutional sense. As Researchers, we will be investigating the design and implementation of this teaching approach to discuss whether or not the Teachers were successful in achieving their goals.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Mathematics and Statistics
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Pileggi, Steven
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.T.M.
Program:Teaching of Mathematics
Date:9 January 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Hardy, Nadia
Keywords:Mathematics Education, Adult Mathematics Education, Algebra
ID Code:979617
Deposited By: STEVEN PILEGGI
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 13:21
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49

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