Recent reform movements have emphasized students making meaning of algebraic relationships; however, research on student thinking and learning often remains disconnected from the design of widely used curricular materials. Although a previous examination of algebra textbooks (Nathan, Long, & Alibali, 2002) demonstrated a preference for a symbols-first approach, research has demonstrated that Algebra I students' performance on verbally presented problems is better than on symbolic equations, consistent with cognitive theories suggesting the value of concreteness fading. The present study investigates whether current textbooks used in Algebra I courses demonstrate a formalisms-first approach using five different analyses. Results show that despite nearly 2 decades of research on student learning, the conventional textbooks used in most classrooms have been resistant to change and emphasize manipulation with symbols prior to making sense of verbal scenarios.
Milan F. Sherman, Candace Walkington and Elizabeth Howell
Thomas E. Hodges, Geri A. Lanry and JoAnn Cady
Transitioning conventional elementary textbook lessons into Standards-based teaching goes much deeper than placing a problem in context. If you do not know why or how—read on.
With the advent of e-book readers, such as Amazon's Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook, bibliophiles were first to welcome e-books with open arms. Now, this wave of innovation is quickly approaching the education shore with e-textbooks moving into classrooms all across North America.
Carl B. Boyer
The year 1946 marks just a quarter of a millennium since the appearance of the Analyse des infiniment petils of L’Hospital. This book, the first published text on the calculus, could boast truly that in its day it filled with distinction that ubiquitous lure of textbook writers—the long-felt need. Moreover, its influence and popularity dominated the whole of the eighteenth century, the period during which the new analysis developed until it completely overshadowed other branches of mathematics.
Practically all American textbooks in arithmetic are well manufactured. They will withstand considerable handling and use. Likewise most of them have a neat and attmctive appearance. Usually they are most carefully written and edited. The language is carefully scaled to the age level of pupils. The type size and topography is carefully chosen. New ideas and words are introduced according to a definite plan. The exercises are carefully graded and the equence of topics is developed in terms of both the logical structure of the mathematics involved and the maturity levels of the children.
Writing in mathematics has already been recognized as a very meaningful learning activity. Johnson (1983) suggests that if students can write clearly about mathematical concepts, then they probably understand them. In my classes, I frequently give students opportunities to write. Students write about their problem-solving strategies and about their understanding of new concepts; they also try their hand at writing word problems. Last year, my eighth-grade first-year-algebra students worked in groups writing a chapter on factoring polynomials for an algebra textbook. This was the first time I had used writing as an integral part of a long-term assignment. The two-week project described in this article was designed as a response to the students' need for new learning experiences and my need for new assessment tools. As an added benefit, the activity proved to be an excellent way for students to review material in a way that made them think in fresh terms.
Milan F. Sherman, Charity Cayton, Candace Walkington and Alexandra Funsch
what order, the written curriculum represents an important factor in what students learn ( Banilower et al., 2013 ; Grouws et al., 2004 ; Tarr et al., 2006 ). Recent analyses of how mathematics teachers use textbooks found that 81% of high school math
Tommie A. West
Every profession has its tools: plumbers have wrenches, carpenters have hammers, doctors have stethoscopes, and teachers have textbooks. Teachers also have other tools, but a study of factors affecting student achievement has found that the textbook was the one variable that seemed to determine what was learned (Begle 1973). lf a topic was not in the textbook, it was not likely to be learned.
Textbooks and e-books are the mainstay of many classrooms, and often textbooks dictate the scope of content and style of instruction in the classroom (Tyson and Woodward 1989). Although the current trend in education is paperless books, we need to understand how students learn from textbooks. Tyson and Woodward (1989) point out that “perhaps the most damning findings are those concerning the failure of textbooks to expose students adequately to the process of scientific inquiry” (p. 15). Discussions of the cost, ease of use, equity, and portability of textbooks are typical (Baumann 2010). Nevertheless, we need to be open to different ways of instruction to ensure students' learning.
Emilie Wiesner, Aaron Weinberg, Ellie Fitts Fulmer and John Barr
Textbooks are a standard component of undergraduate mathematics courses and are created to be used by students for learning ( Love & Pimm, 1996 ). Textbook authors have asserted that students can achieve “a real understanding” from textbooks if