- Series: Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning Series
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (May 3, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805829091
- ISBN-13: 978-0805829099
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning Series) 1st Edition
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This book is a bit dry to get through, but the material itself is excellent. The reviewer who gave the book one star - I don't think you understand how research is planned. You cannot take all variables into account. It just isn't possible. For the scope of the work, Ma's work is right on. I suppose Ma could have surveyed the teachers about their attitudes towards math, expectations on useage of math in the real world, etc. But that's not her field! Other people are doing research on that already!
Liping Ma's book comes at an opportune time for those teachers and should be read by all. It dives into a central problem that elementary teachers face when we consider improving our math programs: How could going off and learning more math help, for instance, in a 4th grade fractions unit? Furthermore, having, typically, been taught mathematics, ourselves, as a process of memorizing and applying procedures, we often teach it that way as well, thinking "how much more can I study the `flip and multiply' rule for fraction division?"
This book answers those and many other questions, while opening many new ones. There's more to math, even "kids math" than meets the eye.
Ma demonstrates that American teachers do not necessarily suffer from a lack of breadth or extensiveness of mathematical training. Adding more `higher math' to our training really would not help us teach arithmetic. We lack deep knowledge of "fundamental mathematics." Ma's claim is that what we need to do is to dig deeper into the underpinnings of "elementary" math - to discover that there is much more to understand about such fundamental concepts. There really is much more to subtraction than remembering when to "regroup." Division of fractions actually represents two or three fundamentally different processes which, confused, can be at the center of students (and teachers) uncertainty. Imagine that!
These are thought provoking ideas, well presented. In the face of a growing national debate about "competency", we would do well to add this element to the discussion of math teaching. Otherwise, the politicians will provide their inevitably simplistic answers.
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This book is a product of a thesis on comparison of the thinking patterns of teachers in USA and China who work with maths.Read more