Ph.D Student | Amit Batya |
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Subject | Interweaving Contemporary Mathematics in High-School Teaching |

Department | Department of Education in Science and Technology |

Supervisors | Professor Emeritus Nitsa Movshovitz-Hada |

Professor Emeritus Abraham Berman | |

Full Thesis text - in Hebrew |

In many countries, including Israel, the high-school-mathematics-curriculum does not reflect the current achievements in the domain. It does not ignite students' interest in the nature of mathematics as a vivid, fertile, and persistently developing domain, nor does it get them impressed by the efforts invested by mathematicians towards solving open problems and establishing new results. In order to bridge the gap between school-mathematics and the domain, high-school students were exposed to contemporary mathematics, using Mathematical-News-Snapshots (MNSs).

The main findings of the study show that:

1. Interweaving MNSs on a regular basis is feasible, without endangering the coverage of the mandatory curriculum or harming students' achievements.

2. Exposing the students to MNSs had an impact on their perceptions of mathematics as a constantly developing domain and as an occupation for life, as well as of mathematics as a school-subject:

? Students developed an attitude that mathematics is a rich and colorful news domain, a relevant domain, constantly developing, and dealing with problems yet unsolved, an intriguing and interesting field that offers creativity and surprises.

? A change occurred in expressing emotions towards mathematics, in revealing curiosity, and in the factors motivating the learning of mathematics. Feelings of hate, fear and alienation changed into feelings of appreciation and fondness. Students, who learnt mathematics out of obligation to pass the matriculation exams, attested that their motivation changed into interest, relevance and a mere joy of learning.

? The change in considering mathematics as an active, on-going, constantly-developing-field was larger among high-level-mathematics-students than the change among average-level-mathematics students within the same class, and between classes of general-ability differences.

? High-achieving-students protruded a greater change in their motivation for learning mathematics, compared to low-achieving-students.

3. The impact of interweaving MNSs on the teacher and her teaching showed that:

? Coping with the challenges of integrating MNSs, led to more efficiency in teaching the ordinary mathematics curriculum.

? Coping with the learning of topics in advanced mathematics, yielded more empathy for her students coping with difficulties.

? The teacher's self-esteem increased as a result of becoming a 'learner-for-life', representing the frontier of mathematics knowledge in her classrooms and a partner in selecting topics for teaching.

? Her involvement with MNSs' creative construction and revision was refreshing and preventing teacher burnout.