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Engendering proof attitudes: can the genesis of mathematical knowledge teach us anything?

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Abstract:

The necessity for reading and writing proofs is one of the central distinguishing characteristics of university mathematics. But reports over the last decade voice concern about students' understanding of mathematical proof at both secondary school and undergraduate level. These reports suggest that there is continued poverty in the understanding of proof by students. This article reports on how proof attitudes could be inculcated in students by offering them a course design that is faithful, to some extent, to the historical genesis of modern mathematics. Specifically, it is argued that such a design can enable students to discover for themselves a 'sense of proof'.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0020739031000108574

Affiliations: School of Education and Lifelong Learning University of Exeter Heavitree Road Exeter EX1 2LU UK

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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