The zeroth step in learning mathematics
toh tin lam
national institute of education, nanyang technological university
It has been recognized that learning takes place through the experiences and the environment learners has, in addition to the content and the kind of learning behavior that the learner acquires based on the objectives and goals defined by the curriculum. Curriculum review has also looked into these tangible aspects of the mathematics curriculum. As an illustration, in the latest Singapore mathematics curriculum, "[l]earning experiences are stated in the mathematics syllabuses to influence the ways teachers teach and students learn so that the curriculum objectives can be achieved." In fact, even before ensuring that the learning experiences in addition to a sound curriculum could ensure that effective learning takes place, it is of utmost importance that a culture of mathematics learning be developed in the school mathematics classroom. Exposure to mathematics through informal or even humorous ways of exposing students to mathematics in their daily lives by using simple brainteasers through comics and stories, use of simple games and activities is the zeroth step in learning mathematics. Extending the ideas from mas communication research, repeated exposure to mathematics in daily lives while developing in students' positive feeling towards mathematics in most fundamental to the success of convincing students to learn mathematics, especially the lower attainers. In this talk, different approaches to build these less tangible aspects of mathematics are discussed.