Reflection on Liebeck and Skemp
Reflecting on my readings of Skemp, R. (1989) Mathematics in the Primary School, and Liebeck, P. (1990) How Children Learn Mathematics. I have reflected on the importance of Mathematics in the world around us as human beings and how it is taught within our schools. Skemp asks the question ‘Why is Mathematics still a problem subject for so many?’ One of the theories put forward is that the teaching of Maths is seen as satisfying teachers and adults by children achieving ticks for their mathematical work passing exams without fully understanding the subject. However children are achieving this through rote, a form of habitual learning. Intelligent learning is adaptable achieving the answer by way of different procedures or routes (building up knowledge) in understanding how to figure out the problem by a variety of schemas. In building up on ones knowledge you empower the learning process by the type of plans of action at ones disposal rather than the rules of formula or rote.
On reflection I agree with this view and have used this method within my own understanding and application of mathematical problems. I have found that when I have learnt by rote I have not fully understood how to solve the problem, I have just learnt the formula, thereby not equipping myself by building up on my base knowledge for the solving of the problem. Retaining the knowledge of the number of rules applied to maths is a great strain on the learner.
Another form of intelligent learning is achieved through formative assessment. The importance of different kinds of knowledge (schemas) which the teacher applies to the lesson allowing particular plans for differentiation of pupil knowledge and ability to help the children reach their own goals.
On reading Liebeck he states that maths is a an abstract subject, you cannot understand two until you have experienced pairs (shoes, legs, arms) and have abstracted what the pairs have in common. A child...