Mathematics education in modern industrialised society: approaches from biology

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Woolcott, G 2009, 'Mathematics education in modern industrialised society: approaches from biology', in C Hurst, M Kemp, B Kissane, L Sparrow & T Spencer (eds), Mathematics it’s mine: Proceedings of the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, Fremantle, WA, AAMT, Adelaide, SA, pp. 200-208. ISBN: 9781875900664

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The main function of learning and memory appears to be dealing with novel information, or problem solving. This involves the input of discrete bursts of information through the senses to the human central nervous system and the interaction of these bursts with longterm memory through the processes involved with attention and working memory (shortterm memory). Mathematics, in dealing with novel information, appears to utilise remembered information in a very selective and fluctuating way, in accordance with knowledge requirements of the prevailing culture and with historical practice. It may be necessary, therefore, to re-evaluate mathematics teaching in order to more fully incorporate knowledge of a biological system which acts naturally in problem solving across subject areas.