Mathematics In Education

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Mathematics is at the heart of many successful careers and successful lives for societal development, particularly in the extraordinary and accelerating change circumstances. However, in reality, most people in general and students in particular dislike mathematics. Mathematics has a public image of being a difficult subject, accessible only to the few. Learners who do well in mathematics are typically stereotyped as “bores”. It is seen as a dry and boring subject. The negative conceptions of mathematics have a major impact on students’ achievement, enrolment in higher education and their future career decisions (Sam, 1999). Generally, students’ views of mathematics are developed based on their school learning experiences (Schoenfeld, 1989;…show more content…
For example, a conceptions of mathematics questionnaire (Mji & Klass, 2001) found a cohesive-fragmented divide. Crawford and others (1994, 1998a) used a phenomenographic approach to qualitatively investigate student conceptions of mathematics in higher education. Crawford and colleagues found a clear divide between cohesive and fragmented conceptions. They extracted items reflecting cohesive and fragmented conceptions and developed scale measures for these conceptions (Crawford, Gordon, Nicholas & Prosser, 1998b). Mathematics may be categorised as fragmented and cohesive. Fragmented conceptions are those in which the subject matter is perceived as consisting of numbers, rules and formulae. In these descriptions, students focus on parts of mathematics rather than the whole subject. Besides, students holding fragmented conceptions relied more on algorithms to solve problems. Cohesive conceptions, on the other hand, are about describing mathematics as a complex logical system that is used to understand real-life contexts and situations related to the subject. In cohesive conceptions, the subject matter is perceived as a logical system that provides insight into the complexities of everyday situations. Crawford et al. (1998) indicate that (1) fragmented conceptions are associated with learning where the attention and activities centre on reproducing knowledge and (2) cohesive conceptions are associated with learning in which a more global and personal perspective is adopted in an attempt to construct one’s own understanding. It is evident from these explanations that students who hold cohesive conceptions are expected to succeed in situations where higher order learning skills and good outcomes are encouraged. This suggests that it is important to encourage cohesive
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