Mathematics Curriculum, the Philosophy of Mathematics and its Implications on Ethiopian Schools Mathematics Curriculum
AbstractIt is my observation that the current school mathematics curriculum in Ethiopia is not producing competent mathematics students. Many mathematicians in Ethiopia and other part of the world have often expressed grief that the majority of students do not understand mathematical concepts, or do not see why mathematical procedures work, or do not know when to use a given mathematical technique (Cuoco, A.1995). According to Cuoco, A.A, et.al. (1996) for generations, school students have studied something in school that has been called mathematics but has very little to do with the way mathematics is created. Much of the failure in school mathematics is due to the tradition of the curriculum design and inappropriate teaching to the way student learns (National Research Council 1989).
The mathematics curriculum has a great influence on how teachers teach in a classroom. In a traditional curriculum where a traditional teaching model is being employed a teacher demonstrates an algorithm or technique, assigns a set of problems for students to do on their own, and tests a student a week or two weeks later on accumulation of their skills.
On the other hand Interactive Mathematics Curriculum (IMC) is designed around the process aspect of mathematics in contrary to the curriculum we have at hand nowadays in schools. According to Cuoco, A.A. et.al. (1996:377) the organizing principle of IMC is the “Habit of Mind” the students are expected to develop where as in the traditional curriculum the organizing principle is the “content.” A curriculum designed around habits of mind comprises both the content and the process.
The existing mathematics Curriculum that is underway in Ethiopia can be labeled as traditional for its main organizing principle is the content that needs to be covered for a given grade level in a given academic year rather than the habits of mind that the students need to develop. Part of the solution to this problem could be adapting IMC to all school levels.