Theories of Learning Mathematics

555 Words3 Pages
Mary Coupland, the author of the article “What do mathematics educators believe about learning mathematics?” mentioned different types of psychological theories on how people learn mathematics and how it was initially based on three mistaken beliefs. As research grew, new theories have been introduced and although the first three methods are now regarded as obsolete, some of the methods are still used and practiced. The three theories now considered out of date include faculty psychology, transmission of knowledge and behaviorism. Faculty psychology suggested that the mind had certain properties such as memory, will and logical thinking that could be trained and exercised. According to this model, the mind was considered somewhat analogous to a muscle, and the role of education was to exercise and strengthen the intellect to the point where it could control the will of a learner. The problem with this theory is that it supports memorization of large quantities of materials without reasoning. Transmission model of learning is the second out of date theory which tells us that knowledge has an existence independent of the knower in a sense that knowledge is consumed in the way people eat food. In this theory, learners are regarded as empty vessels ready to be filled up with knowledge. This is inappropriate as learners in university age may have already formed their own opinions about mathematical topics. The third outdated model is behaviorism. It is not fully discredited as it is still used in Computer Aided Instruction. Essentially, behaviorists are interested in overt observable behaviors, rather than internal thoughts such as intentions and wishes. In more detail they look for the background of behavior such as what triggers a certain behavior and behavioral consequences. This theory ignores the social dimensions of learning therefore ignores motivation and

More about Theories of Learning Mathematics

Open Document