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Deep and shallow approaches to learning mathematics are not mutually exclusive

Mathias, J.; Newton, D.P.

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Authors

J. Mathias



Contributors

Abstract

From time to time, students are characterised as having a deep or shallow approach to learning. A deep approach to learning tends to attract more approval than a shallow approach, at least in the West. Students on a university-based Foundation course to prepare them for undergraduate studies were divided into those likely to have a deep approach (26) and those likely to have a shallow approach (18). Their performance in a test of problem solving in an aspect of applied mathematics was compared. Contrary to expectations, the test scores and interviews with the students indicated that those with a deep approach did not benefit when asked to apply their learning in new contexts, and those with a shallow approach were not markedly disadvantaged. It is suggested that, at least amongst learners, neither approach is likely to be entirely self-sufficient, but should be seen as acceptable starting points of potential routes to success. Although a small scale study, mathematics tutors should be able to relate the findings and suggestions to their own experiences and practices.

Citation

Mathias, J., & Newton, D. (2016). Deep and shallow approaches to learning mathematics are not mutually exclusive. In G. Adams (Ed.),

Conference Name Conference of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics
Conference Location Loughborough
Start Date Jun 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 30, 2016
Publication Date Jun 11, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 17, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2016
Volume 36
Pages 46-54
Series Title Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics
Series Number 2
Series ISSN 1463-6840
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1150803
Publisher URL http://www.bsrlm.org.uk/informalproceedings.html

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