id: 06534914
dt: j
an: 2016b.00304
au: Little, Chris
ti: How ‘real’ are real-world contexts in A level mathematics problems.
so: Math. Sch. (Leicester) 40, No. 1, 13-15 (2011).
py: 2011
pu: Mathematical Association (MA), Leicester
la: EN
cc: D30 D50
ut: A level mathematics; real-life mathematics; real-world context; problem
posing; problem solving; pure approach; formal approach; applied
approach; informal approach; transfer of training
ci:
li:
ab: From the text: Since starting my teaching career in the 1970s, I have been
aware of two philosophically different approaches to teaching pure
mathematics, exemplified by two types of syllabus. On the one hand, in
a ‘traditional’ approach, pure mathematics is treated as ‘pure’
mathematics, unsullied by the requirement to be useful in solving
real-world problems. Questions are framed in purely mathematical terms,
and do not refer to any material reality. The emphasis of questions is
on testing the candidates’ ability to prove mathematical statements,
to apply algebraic techniques and skills, and to construct mathematical
arguments. On the other hand, a ‘modern’ approach (if such a
soubriquet can be applied to syllabus development whose origins lie in
the 1960s) emphasizes the applicability of mathematics to solve
real-world problems. While such syllabuses inevitably test pure
mathematical techniques, such as algebraic skills, questions are,
wherever possible, framed in real-world contexts, and in doing so,
involve an element of what might be described as ‘mathematical
modelling’. This requires the student, in solving such problems, to
engage in a degree of matching between the real world and pure
mathematical ‘models’.
rv: