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Lee, N. H. (2000). Living and feeling mathematics learning. In J. Ee, Berinderjeet Kaur, N. H. Lee and B. H. Yeap (Eds.), New ‘Literacies’: Educational response to a knowledge-based society: Proceedings of the ERA-AME-AMIC Joint Conference 2000 (pp. 702-709). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
School mathematics has often been taught in a rather mechanical manner, and frequently outside the context of everyday life. Frequent over-emphasis on arithmetic, manipulation of algebraic expressions, and pure memorisation of facts and theorems have left many students feeling that mathematics is mechanical, abstract, and unsuitable for the common person's consumption. This is ironical, since mathematics has developed out of the pure necessity of a routine of daily life - counting. Learning need not be fun at every stage. However, as teachers, we could create contexts at each stage of learning so that students' learning of mathematics does not become merely a mechanical process, but consists of experiences that they could live and feel. In this paper, I will share experiences in my mathematics classrooms that evoke emotions of some strength, so that mathematics will become part of the repository of unforgettable memories in students' lives. This is, in fact, in line with the findings of brain research which reveal the important role that emotions play in learning.
This paper was published in the Proceedings of the ERA-AME-AMIC Joint Conference held at Singapore from 4-6 September 2000
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