Mathematics education is undergoing an era of reform, shifting from behaviourist to constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. Debates within the philosophy of mathematics consider the absolutist versus humanist status of mathematical claims. Given that school math is almost uniformly experienced by teachers and learners as absolute, the content of debates within the philosophy of mathematics could contribute to the reform of mathematics education. This paper considers whether stories from the history of mathematics with philosophical import can generate learning contexts that occasion a greater appreciation of mathematics by school aged children. Zeno’s paradox is one such mathematical/philosophical context, which is used, with some data from children, to explore the above question. By starting with the premise that all school aged children can engage with and generate philosophical ideas, I conclude that the success of this agenda depends on at least two pedagogical considerations: (1) teachers noticing the philosophical thinking of children, which depends on a teachers knowledge of philosophy; and (2) occasioning opportunities for children to engage with philosophy, which is a rejection of the idea that teachers should structure when philosophical thinking will occur.
|Keywords:||Philosophy of Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Appreciation by Children|
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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