Share Cognitive Science Implications for Teaching Mathematics

I am Delano P. Wegener, Ph.D.  I own this blog. I am the author of all materials on this blog.

I started teaching university mathematics in the Fall of 1966 and retired from the classroom in February 2017.  During that time, I did considerable consulting work in civil engineering and corrosion engineering.  I owned a software company which made significant contributions to automation of data collection in cathodic protection.  I have published seven mathematics research papers and seven mathematics textbooks.

Of importance to this blog is the fact that I have a Ph.D. (mathematics).  Perhaps more important is the fact that during my entire professional life I have studied cognitive science and attempted to apply the best information from cognitive science to teaching and learning mathematics.  The material in this blog will be a continuation of that interest and will showcase the recent amazing results from cognitive science.

Modern day Cognitive Science traces its roots to the 1885 work of Hermann Ebbinghaus which produced, among other results, the famous Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.  In that same study Ebbinghaus firmly established the advantage of spaced retrieval practice over massed practice.  Hundreds of studies have been conducted with the goal of disproving Ebbinghaus’s findings.  Not one succeeded.  It has always baffled me that we have known the advantage of spaced retrieval practice and the disadvantage of massed practice for more than 130 years, and yet all math textbooks and other study materials are based on massed practice.

A goal of this blog is to point the way to improved math teaching and learning with the use of current Cognitive Science.  I intend to present some of the most recent results in Cognitive Science with discussion and examples of their application in mathematics teaching and learning.

The Cognitive Science principles are valid for all age groups, but forms of implementation must be suitable for each age group. My qualifications and knowledge base dictate that my discussions and examples are appropriate to high school and beyond. Some modifications might be required for use in early high school.

Recent Cognitive Science challenges many ideas the education community has clung to for many years.  Please keep an open mind and allow yourself to change. Keep in mind Cognitive Science is a well-established science and many of its recent amazing findings are the result of neuroimaging.  The very same neuroimaging that has been responsible for tremendous advances in medicine.  Medical advances which we accept with accolades and learning advances which we ignore.

A second goal of this blog is to advocate for teaching and learning mathematics more appropriate to the 21st century than the 19th century math which is common in current mathematics classrooms.

Please share with me an intense desire to improve mathematics teaching and learning.

You can get a jump start on this blog by reading/studying the book  Make It Stick : The science of successful learning

Authors:  Peter C Brown; Henry L. Roediger, III; Mark A. McDaniel.  Available at Amazon