BACK TO BASICS

BACK TO BASICS

Abstract

Teachers nowadays are bombarded with plenty of pedagogical theories, new initiatives, current fads and various “improvements” to mathematical education, all of which supposedly based on current research and best practices from developed countries. But are we doing better? Are our students becoming better problem solvers? Are our teachers becoming more proficient in their job to educate our youths on the wonders of mathematics?

In this talk, I will argue that we should go back to basics: start by understanding the foundations of mathematics itself. There are many misunderstandings about basic mathematics that are still prevalent among students and teachers. Gaps in understanding lead to a shaky foundation. This leads to uncertainties when students encounter problems that require higher order thinking skills, which in turn impedes students’ grasp of more advanced mathematical concepts. By working on the very foundation of mathematics, and spending time thinking and explaining the obvious to our students, it is hoped that students discover a newfound appreciation of mathematics, and do mathematics as it is supposed be done: the right way.