I just had this “wonderfully imaginative maths educationist, George Gadanidis” recommended to me – apparently he makes use of both narrative and metaphor in primary maths education. His website is certainly full of material…
In his article, I Heard this Great Math Story the Other Day! , he notes:
“Maybe school math (smath, as Bill Higginson of Queen’s University calls it – see his interview at www.edu.uwo.ca/dmp/Higginson) lacks humanity and imagination, and is just not worthy of our attention. So what do we do about this? I think the answer lies in an innocent comment made by one of my students. To help our elementary school teacher candidates improve their image of math, we offered a math-for-teachers course, so they could re-experience doing mathematics in new ways, as a form of math therapy you might say. One of the teacher candidates commented on her experience by saying, “I learned that math can be discussed with your family and friends just like you would a favourite book or new movie.”
If you ask children about a movie they like, they will eagerly share with you the exciting moments, the plot twists, and how they felt about the experience. Ask the same child “What did you do in math today?” and the typical responses will be: “Nothing,” “I don’t know,” or “Fractions.”
What if we disrupt the typical meaning of performance assessment (which is based more on a business model than a performing arts model) and define it as this: if a student is able to discuss school math with family and friends just like one would a new movie, then that student has experienced meaningful math learning and teaching. It seems a crazy idea, I admit, because at first glance it appears that we’re equating math education with entertainment.” (p.44)
I couldn’t agree more! hmmmm!