Assess the Effectiveness of Constructivist Approach in Learning Primary Mathematics

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1. Most recently, mathematics teaching and learning has been influenced by the cognitive and constructivist approaches. 2. Goldin (1990) and Lerman (1989) categorized constructivism in teaching and learning mathematics into two major hypotheses; 1) Knowledge is actively constructed by the individual, not passively received from an outside source. 2) Coming to know is an adaptive process that organizes one’s world, not the discovery if some independent, preexisting world from outside the mind of the individual.

3. As such, the constructivist approach is highly relevant and effective for pupils in learning of primary mathematics. 4. This essay will discuss various ways to infuse this approach into lessons and how it can be effective. 5. Prior to discussing the constructivism approach, the term ‘effectiveness’ in the context of learning mathematics will be discussed.

6. According to Ng (2009), an effective mathematics lesson can get pupils to understand the mathematical concepts and they “are better able to see the connection between ideas as well as the applications of these concepts in various contexts.” (p. 18) 7. In order to achieve this, a variety of approaches can be applied in classroom teaching. 8. One of them is the constructivism approach which supports cooperative learning.

9. Cooperative learning is essentially a feature of a constructivist learning environment. 10. Cathart, Pothier, Vance and Bezuk (2003) suggest that a constructivist environment involves a high level of interaction, an emphasis on student autonomy or responsibility and group work. 11. The abovementioned features are highly evident in appropriate cooperative learning activities as pupils are in an environment where they are encouraged to interact with concrete materials and peers to construct their mathematical knowledge. 12. “Group activities can provide a forum for pupils to ask questions, discuss ideas, make mistakes and learn to listen to others’ ideas, offer constructive...
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