Teachers should allow pupils to learn maths by using it rather than focusing on abstract concepts, says an expert.

*Judith Burns, Education reporter, BBC News*

Mathematics has a reputation of being very hard to learn. It is true that mathematics is a difficult subject that is multilayered and involves abstract thinking. This is compounded by the way in which mathematics in the UK is taught. Quite often it is difficult to see how mathematics is relevant to the everyday world.

For those of us that know, we see mathematics all around us.

Professor Dave Pratt of the Institute of Education argues that teaching methods should help the students engauge with mathematics and see how it is used. Mathematics is not just pure abstract thinking, but is a powerful tool to be employed in many contexts and this should come across in the teaching of the subject.

Read the BBC news report here.

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A good idea need only be testable. It is believable afterward. Imagination is intelligence having fun,

http://www.khanacademy.org/

The author seems to confuse learning mathematics and doing mathematics with applying mathematics. They are not the same thing, and to stress applications alone in a mathematics class does an injustice to both mathematics and to the application.

What needs to be done is to integrate the mathematics that is taught into concurrent classes in which that mathematics is applied. For instance concurrent learning of calculus and physics is rather common in the U.S. and I would be surprised if it were not also common in the UK.

There is certainly no reason that physics and calculus cannot be learned concurrently. Newton developed them concurrently.

Similarly in lower level classes there is no reason that science cannot and should not be taught using the level of mathematics that is taught to the student at that same time. This does require that teachers at the grad level being taught be competent in both the relevant science and mathematics.

Even at the pre-school level it is quite possible to teach addition, multiplication and division to children under the age of 5. Montessori schools are rather successful in this.

Indeed, there has to be some compromise between mathematics as mathematics and mathematics as a tool via applications. I think the claim is that generally the high school structure of mathematics in the UK is too weighted towards pure mathematics.

So, if you take A-level mathematics and physics that would be the case. Most students that take physics at that level will take maths also, but I doubt it is a formal requirement. It was not when I took my A-levels, but if you want a degree in physics then mathematics needs to be studied also.