Place of Mathematics in School Curriculum

Place of Mathematics in School Curriculum - Syllabus and Study Material

Curriculum includes all those activities, experiences and environment which the child receives during his educational career under the guidance of educational authorities. Thus curriculum is the total education of the child.

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Curriculum touches all the aspects of the life of the pupils- the need and interest of pupils environment which should be educationally congenial to them, ways and manners in which their interest can be kindled warmed up, the procedures and approaches which cause effective learning among them, the social efficiency of the individual and how they fit in with the community around.

In education, the importance and the place of a particular subject depends on the fact that “to what extent the subject is helpful in achieving the aims of the education”. If any subject is more useful for achieving educational objectives then its importance increases accordingly. Since ancient times mathematics has played a vital role in ‘achieving aims of education, as compared to others. Present age is the age of science and information. Whatever, technological and physical progress being made, shall be correspondent to the role of mathematics. Being so important “What place should be given to mathematics in the curriculum?” In school Kothari Commission has explained about placing mathematics as a compulsory subject upto higher secondary or tenth standard and has said, “Mathematics should be made a compulsory subject for the students of 1st to Xth standard, as a part of general education.”

But some people lay more emphasis on making it an optional subject after eight-standard, therefore various reasons were framed against this proposal:

  • It is very difficult subject and its learning requires a sharp brain and intelligence, as many children will face difficulties for gaining the knowledge.
  • It is only an imagination the mental abilities, discipline, culture, social and moral developments can be done by mathematics.
  • The numbers of failures in mathematics in high school examination are more as compared to that of other subjects.
  • Every student can’t become an engineer or a technician, then what is the necessity of mathematics for all.

In this way, the reasons forbading the compulsion of mathematics upto tenth standard seems to Ideological.
All great educationalist like Herbert, Pestolozzi etc. has accepted mathematics as a symbol of human development. Accepting mathematics as a best means of intellectual and cultural developments, these educationists placed mathematics on the top in the curriculum. Thus we can give certain logical points regarding mathematics as a compulsory subject. These are as follows:

  • If mathematics is not given an important place in the curriculum then students would not get any opportunity for mental training and in the absence of which their intellectual development might be affected.
  • For gaining the knowledge of mathematics no innate power is required, which is separate from ability of study of other subject.
  • Training of reasoning, thinking, discipline, self confidence and emotions are developed in students by mathematics.
  • Through mathematics child leads to gain knowledge systematically.
  • It is needed either forwardly or adversely for studying almost all the subjects because it is considered as the basis of science and each and every art.

Thus on the basis of above discussion, we can conclude that mathematics is only subject whose knowledge is needed for the whole life. It can be possible only when every child will study mathematics as a compulsory subject upto tenth standard. Mathematics occupy a prominent place in men’s life, from an engineer to technician or labour to finance minister and other businessmen, all needed the help of mathematics according to their requirements. The knowledge of this subject is indispensable and it is bound to grow as the need grows. A mathematical approach is essential for any progress. Any approach devoid of mathematical consideration is likely to lead to failure. If anybody wants to get success in his life, he must have recourse to mathematics.
Thus mathematics should be placed on higher level even through it is required for earning. There are some reasons for giving in an important place in school curriculum, some of them are as follows:

Reasons for Keeping Mathematics in School Curriculum

  • Mathematics is the Basis of all Sciences: The different branches of science likewise-Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Biology, Medical Science, Geology, Astrology etc. are the important subjects which are based on mathematics for e.g. area, volume, weight, density, number of atoms and electrons, medicines all are related to mathematical study.
  • Mathematics is Related to Human Life: Right from getting up in the morning till going to bed we need the help of mathematics. For purchasing, planning our day, each and every aspect involves the use of mathematics. Today in the modern age, the knowledge of mathematics is essential and more important in one form or the other.
  • Mathematics Generates Logical Attitude: Mathematics give training to different faculties of mind. In order to solve a mathematical problem a child has to think logically. Every step is, related to other step on the basis of some logic with which child develops his mental abilities and it further effects his intellectual development.
  • Mathematics Provides a Definite way of Thinking: The children who study mathematics develop attitude with which they learn to work systematically, regularly and properly. Along with this it also develops a logical thinking in them.
  • Mathematics is an exact science: By the study of mathematics child develops the attitude to accept the knowledge of mathematics in an exact form. All mathematical concepts, formulae, facts are related to exactness and thus it removes the feeling of doubt. For example; 4 + 4 = 8. Which cannot be 7 or 9 etc.
  • Mathematics provides opportunity to develop mental abilities of the child.
  • Mathematics deals with significant, abstracts and consistent structures.
  • Mathematics is the study of sets and structures.
  • Mathematics helps in character formation as well as morality.
  • The develops the characteristic of discipline.
  • The language of mathematics is universal.
  • Knowledge of mathematics is useful in the study of other school subjects.

Generally mathematics have basically three structures-

  • The Algebraic Structures: In Algebraic structures we study operations of addition, multiplication and generalization.
  • The Topological Structures: The topological structures include different concepts like limit, neighbourhood or nearness etc.
  • The Order Structure: This type of structures include concepts like greater than and less than etc.

Language of Mathematics

We are familiar with the saying “Brevity the soul of wisdom.” Mathematics applies this principle in its language. Mathematical language is free from verbosity and is empowered to put the things or ideas pin-pointedly. Thus, mathematical language cut short the lengthy statements and helps the people to express their ideas or things in exact form by using notations, symbols and formula. The mathematical ability is inherent in the man. Therefore, he is able to assign notations and symbols to ideas and objects. This is the basis for the development of mathematical language. Thus, the mathematics has its from several and symbolism which distinguishes it from several other subjects and helps us in expressing the facts in clear, to the point and exact form. For example, the statement, “The different of squares of two terms or numbers is equal to the product of sum and difference of the terms”, may easily be written as:

y^{2}=\left ( x+y \right )\left ( x-y \right ) by using the symbol x and y for The above symbolic form of a given statement impressments the mathematical language. Mathematical results in their symbolic form helps us in solving various complicated problems. The progress of mathematics depends on the enormous use of mathematical language and symbolism. Most of the results of scientific inventions and discovers are stated through this language. The importance of mathematics and mathematical language may easily be understood through the saying of Lindsay and Galileo;

Lindsay says, “Mathematics is the language of physical science and certainly no more marvelous language was ever created by the mind of the man.”

More above Galileo has expressed has views as "Mathematics is language in which god has written the universe"

Thus, mathematics works out with a peculiar language. Therefore, in teaching of mathematics, the teacher has to develop in learners the ability to employ mathematical language and symbolism. We are very much familiar with the symbols of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There are a large number of symbols and notations used in mathematics and it is not possible to prepare a comprehensive and complete list of those. But students must be made familiar with them so that they may be able to understand advanced mathematical processes and literature. A good student of mathematics must be in position to appreciate the precision, logic, sharpness and beauty of its perculiar language. Several students lose interest in the subject as they are symbolism. Thus, it is the duty of the teacher of mathematics to create in him an interest towards its language. Though, it is not the content of this book, some important symbols are given below to comprehend the beauty and precision of mathematical language.

Symbols

Used for

= Equal to
\because Since or because or As
\therefore Therefore
> Greater than
< Less than
Square root
Summation (Sigma)
\parallel Parallel lines
Angle
Δ Triangle
Congruency
S Semi-perimeter of triangle
Subset
N Set-of Natural Numbers
R Set of Real Numbers
I Set of Integers
Q Set of Rational Numbers

There are some important symbols which are mostly used. In fact, it is a difficult task to prepare a comprehensive and complete list of all the mathematical symbol. Generally students fail to understand some mathematical procedure because of their inability to understand the symbols used. So, they try to cram the statements mechanically without knowing the meaning of symbols. Therefore, students should be very familiar with these symbols. Teachers should make an effort to train the students in the use of mathematical language and symbols. Students should team to appreciate the precision, brevity, exactness and beauty of mathematical language and symbolism.

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