Experiencing School Mathematics: Traditional and Reform Approaches To Teaching and Their Impact on Student Learning, Revised and Expanded Edition

The first book to provide direct evidence for the effectiveness of traditional and reform-oriented teaching methods, Experiencing School Mathematics reports on careful and extensive case studies of two schools that taught mathematics in totally different ways. Three hundred students were followed over three years, providing an unusual and important range of data, including observations, interviews, questionnaires, and assessments, to show the ways students’ beliefs and understandings were shaped by the different approaches to mathematics teaching. The interviews that are reproduced in the book give compelling insights into what it meant to be a student in the classrooms of the two schools. Questions are raised about and new evidence is provided for:

  • the ways in which “traditional” and “reform oriented” mathematics teaching approaches can impact student attitude, beliefs, and achievement;
  • the effectiveness of different teaching methods in preparing students for the demands of the “real world” and the 21st century;
  • the impact of tracking and heterogeneous ability grouping; and
  • gender and teaching styles–the potential of different teaching approaches for the attainment of equity.

The book draws some radical new conclusions about the ways that traditional teaching methods lead to limited forms of knowledge that are ineffective in non-school settings.

This edition has been revised for the North American market to show the relevance of the study results in light of the U.S. reform movement, the “math wars” and debates about teachers, assessment, and tracking. The details of the study have been rewritten for an American audience and the results are compared with research conducted in the U.S. This is an important volume for mathematics teachers and researchers, education policymakers, and for students in mathematics education courses.

NOTE: This is a revised edition of Experiencing School Mathematics first published in 1997 by Open University Press, © Jo Boaler. This revised edition is for sale in North America only.