Critial issues in mathemtical education

Assignment 1:
Essay on critical issue in mathematics education

Discuss a critical issue in mathematics education. Issues will include the nature of mathematical understanding, inclusion and social justice in mathematics education, language in mathematics, school mathematics curriculum, assessment in mathematics, and numeracy and mathematics. You will be provided with a discussion starter for the topic.

Assessment criteria:
1. Discussion of significance of topic;
2. Breadth and depth of reading and synthesis;
3. Capacity to reflect on readings in the light of personal experience; and
4. Quality of academic writing.

Topic: Constructivism?

Stimulus: In reality, no one can teach mathematics. Effective teachers are those who can stimulate students to learn mathematics. Educational research offers compelling evidence that students learn mathematics well only when they construct their own mathematical understanding. Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education (1989) Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB)

Key questions:
What is constructivism? What are some of the arguments for or against a constructivist approach to teaching? What does constructivism look like in practice in the mathematics classroom?

You are required to submit a written paper of 1500 to 2000 words. The paper will follow the format of a piece of academic writing, such as that found in journal articles and must include:

An abstract of 80 to 100 words including a clear statement of the issue being explored and its importance in mathematics education;
A literature survey summarising significant viewpoints and competing perspectives;
Discussion of the issue, addressing some or all of the key questions;
Discussion of relevant personal experience;
Conclusions; and
A reference list.

Note that the abstract and reference lists are included in the word count. The reference list should include between five and ten references, all of which must be cited in the text, and all of which must have been read.

Assessment criteria:
vDiscussion of significance of topic;

vBreadth and depth of reading and synthesis;

vCapacity to reflect on readings in the light of personal experience; and

vQuality of academic writing. In particular your academic writing must:

·Be organised into sections which are conventional for the text, including appropriate headings;

·Use an academic voice appropriate for the task (not necessarily third person);

·Progressively build the argument in such a way that the conclusion follows naturally from the discussion and that the whole text holds together well;

·Have coherent paragraphs, where ideas are developed within distinct paragraphs;

·Use conventional written grammar, including full sentences;

·Use conventional Australian English spelling;

·Use literature sources from the required readings to support the argument being developed; and

·Use an author-date (APA) reference style with a matching reference list. Details of the APA style can be found on the CDU website at

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