Introduction to teaching mathematics

Mathematics is recognised as one of the sciences and has been described and defined in many different ways. It is a creative activity and is one of the most useful, fascinating and stimulating divisions of human knowledge. It is a process of managing and communicating information and has the power to predict and provide solutions to practical problems as well as enabling the individual to create new imaginative worlds to explore. We use mathematics in everyday life, in science, in industry, in business and in our free time. It is an important subject and integral to human experience.

Mathematics education is concerned with the acquisition, understanding and application of skills. Mathematical literacy is of central importance in providing the child with the necessary skills to live a full life as a child and later as an adult. Society needs people who can think and communicate quantitatively and who can recognise situations where mathematics can be applied to solve problems. It is necessary to make sense of data encountered in the media, to be competent in terms of vocational mathematical literacy and to use appropriate technology to support such applications. This maths curriculum will be a key factor in preparing children to meet the demands of the twenty-first century.

Mathematical applications are required in many subjects. The ability to interpret and handle data is of particular relevance in history and geography. Measures and shape and space relate to the visual arts, physical education and geography. Integration gives the child a reason and motivation to develop mathematical skills and concepts that can be used in all subjects. Numeracy and estimation are particular to mathematics, while evaluating findings, reporting back, predicting and reasoning are used both in mathematics and throughout the curriculum.