Eric.ed.gov – The Perception of Math and Math Education in the Rural Midwest. Working Paper No. 37

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Using the qualitative research method known as folknography, the authors led a research team to the heart of Illinois farm country to ask the question “What are the perceptions of the people of the Midwest concerning math and math education?” A review of the literature includes Canadian and Australian references on the topic, as well as information from the United States, and the targeted geography and population is described. Research followed the pattern of a similar study conducted in Appalachia in 2004. A preliminary survey was planned to gather benchmarking statistical data and to open respondents up to the possibilities of a folknographic interview. Folknographers entered the field in May 2006 to perform focused and intensive field research. Findings include: (1) belief that young people can not perform simple math; (2) perception that too much technology has a significant and negative impact on developing minds of students; (3) connection between acquiring math knowledge and achieving a dynamic career; (4) recollections of tyrannical or cruel math teachers; (5) desire for a school or school system that makes learning math an exciting and motivating experience. Folknographic narratives are included to illustrate each finding. Bibliography is included. Four appendixes conclude the document: (1) Perceptions of Math in the Mid-West Interview Questions: Adults (18-55); (2) Perceptions of Math in the Mid-West Interview Questions: Seniors (55-Over); (3) Perceptions of Math in the Mid-West Interview Questions: Youth (Ages 10-17); and (4) Perceptions of Math Survey Mid-West. (Contains 4 charts.)

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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