Mathematics teaching in Education and Training Courses

Rocha, H. Mathematics teaching in Education and Training Courses. Proceedings of the International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. Barcelona, Spain: EduLearn, 2014.


H. Rocha

Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (PORTUGAL)

Education and Training Courses have been specifically designed to the high number of young people in a situation of school dropout and in transition to working life, particularly those who enter the labor market early with insufficient levels of schooling and professional training. Mathematics is one of the curriculum components of these courses, for its contribution to the exercise of citizenship in a democratic society. Being an important part of the cultural legacy of our society is too often seen by students as a source of exclusion. It is known that young people who enter these courses often had an experience of underachievement in the discipline, what justifies that motivating students is at once the great challenge faced by the teacher. The program suggests taking a more concrete and linked to reality approach, allowing students to learn to recognize the mathematics in the world around them and using technology to promote that learning. However, it is the teacher who is responsible for managing its implementation, shaping the learning situations and integrating them in a coherent and articulated way in the specific course that students attend. In what concerns to assessment, the program also takes into account the usual characteristics of the students. Thus, the assessment includes a strong appreciation of students’ work, its presentation and discussion and further improvement of that work. The directions given to the teacher diverge from the traditional option of the evaluation test, providing guidelines to the form that each evaluation can take depending on the contents in study. However, once again, the teacher's role in curriculum management is not neglected, being valued the adequacy of proposals to the characteristics of the students.
The study presented here had as its main goal to analyze and understand the choices made by the teacher during the different stages of his practice, giving attention to the dilemmas he faced and to the reasons he took into account when making decisions.

The study adopts a qualitative and interpretative methodological approach, undertaking one teacher case study. Data collection included semi-structured interviews, classroom observation and document collection. Data analysis was based on the evidence gathered in the light of the problem under study.

The conclusions of the study point to the important role of technology and suggest that the reduction of prerequisites, the intention of taking into account the students’ interests and the desire of improving students culture is central in what concerns to task selection; while the active involvement of students characterized the implementation of the classes. The dilemmas faced by the teacher focus mainly on the relative importance and on the demanding level that he should give to each content, as well as the articulation that he should promote between formal and intuitive knowledge. In what concerns to assessment, the results achieved highlight the impact that students ideas can have on teacher’s practice, conducting to the inclusion of tests as an assessment element, against the teacher’s intentions.

keywords: education and training courses, mathematics, innovation, technology.


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