History of Mathematics in Mathematics Education

In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. pp. 669-703 (2014)
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This paper surveys central justifications and approaches adopted by educators interested in incorporating history of mathematics into mathematics teaching and learning. This interest itself has historical roots and different historical manifestations; these roots are examined as well in the paper. The paper also asks what it means for history of mathematics to be treated as genuine historical knowledge rather than a tool for teaching other kinds of mathematical knowledge. If, however, history of mathematics is not subordinated to the ideas and methods at the heart of the usual mathematical curriculum – algebraic equations, functions, derivatives, analytic geometry – if it becomes an essential subject for mathematics, then the attempt to find a place for history of mathematics requires refining our understanding of the nature of mathematics education itself. Thus, the paper asks not only how can history of mathematics be incorporated into mathematics education but also how the idea of mathematics education may need to be adjusted to accommodate history.



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