Mathematics education

From ArticleWorld

Mathematics education deals with the study of teaching and learning of mathematics. Professional teachers involved in the imparting of knowledge in mathematics concentrate on the development of tools that help both the teachers and the learners. All through history mathematicians have busied themselves with developing new techniques for instruction, apart from proposing new theorems. These techniques may vary according to the skills being used. For instance, craftsmen require solid geometry and trigonometry, scientists and engineers require calculus. Each form of specialization needs its own unique way of instruction.


Mathematics formed a part of the educational system in most ancient civilisations including ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and ancient Greece.

One of the first mathematics textbooks, "The Grounde of Artes", was published by Robert Recorde in the 16th century during the renaissance. However, during this period, mathematics education was secondary to philosophies such as natural and moral philosophies.

This trend continued until the 17th century, when departments of mathematics and geometry were introduced in universities across Europe. The teaching of mathematics at lower levels became even more necessary during the 18th and 19th centuries when the industrial revolution began. Teaching of the basics of the subject became compulsory as skills such as time telling, counting and basic arithmetic became very essential in the daily life of the people due to rapid urbanisation. Today, mathematics has become part of the core curriculum in most countries.


The method employed in the teaching of mathematics in academic curricula or otherwise depends on the purpose of the teaching. The following are some of the common methods used in teaching mathematics:

  • Classical education: the teaching of mathematics during the middle ages was essentially built on principles derived from Euclid’s Elements. This stressed on deductive reasoning.
  • Learning by rote: such a technique is especially known to be adopted when teaching multiplication tables by repeated familiarisation.
  • Exercises: this technique involves the teaching of mathematical skills by making learners solve several exercises of similar types of mathematical problems.
  • Competitive problem solving: this technique involves the encouragement of learners to develop creativity by solving problems ranging from the simplest, commonsense ones to the most difficult of problems that appear in competitions like the International Mathematical Olympiad.