Reflection on an article – Ann Baker Workshop Preparation
Learning to Think: An American Third Grader Discovers Mathematics in Holland
By Eve Torrence
This article emphasises the importance of allowing students to discover for themselves efficient computation methods and problem solving strategies.
Teaching points:
 provide realistic problems to solve that students can relate to
 provide opportunities for students to share their strategies ( so they can learn from each other and adopt strategies) over time accumulate a collection of flexible problem solving strategies
 “guided reinvention” – a constructivist approach
 informal methods encourage personal approaches which make more sense to the student – rather than an algorithmic approach which may result in inflexibility
 memorisation of multiplication facts doesn’t encourage flexible thinking
 encourage students to use easier multiplication facts as landmarks from which to derive more difficult facts
 learning through understanding is an approach that students must be encouraged to use very early
 focus on developing mathematical fluency and flexibility and this can reignite their interest in and enjoyment of mathematics as a creative and pleasurable activity

understanding is what matters the most…“because learning mathematics is all about learning to think.”