Impact of Brain Research upon School Mathematics for the 21st Century

Allan Leslie White


In 1924, Hans Berger succeeded in recording the first human electroencephalogram (EEG). With developments in technology, there are now a variety of approaches for examining brain activity such as Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) and computed tomography (CT scans). This technology is giving the first glimpses of the vastness of our inner brain space and brain research is being used to treat autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other brain related conditions. Importantly, the implications of brain research for education are beginning to emerge. This paper will discuss some of these implications with special focus upon mathematics teaching and learning. It will discuss a scale for classifying teaching strategies according to their aims and student learning outcomes involving understanding. It will end with a reflection on the importance of the end of a mathematics
classroom lesson.


school mathematics; insight; instrumental understanding; rote memorization; relational understanding

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