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CRITERIA FOR SELECTING A GOOD TEXTBOOK OF MATHEMATICS

A good textbook saves the time and labour of the teachers. It also makes unnecessary the
writmg of exercises and problems dictated by the teacher. The usefulness of a textbook is
increased if it includes suitable illustrations and diagrams. Too often difficulty arises because of
the limitations of language or of readability in a textbook. A good textbook also provides
exercises that call for oral rather than written responses. The mechanical requisites of paper,
print size, format, and binding must measure up to approved standards in a good textbook.
These days textbooks are supplemented by work-books and practice books which provide well
distributed practice exercises arranged according to their difficulty level. (IGNOU)

RELEVANCE OF MATHEMATICS TEXTBOOKS IN TEACHING MATHEMATICS

0 Skemp: Mathematics at school level does not require special aptitudes in learners. it is
however more abstract and hierachial that other school subjects which children learn at
same age, and this makes special demands on teachers and TEXTBOOKS

conceptual analysis is important to phycology of teaching mathematics. Teachers must


analyse these concepts so that pupil can resynthesis them in their own minds. This is a huge job
and we cannot expect teachers in the classroom to do it . But THEY ARE ENTITLED TO EXPECT IT
DONE BY TEXTBOOK WRITERS WHO MAY BE REGARDED AS INDIRECT TEACHERS and it is
important to be able to recognize whether or not this first essential step has been adequately
done.Hence DOES TEXTBOOKHAVE CONCEPT MAPS AND CONSIDERS CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS AS
A PREREQUISITE : Does it take into pieces to seee what r the contriputary concepts.

1 Contents are listed in an organized manner.

2 Select a textbook in mathematics analyse it to answer the following :

, a) Does the treatment of subject matter help in achieving the objectives of teaching
mathematics ?

b) Does the book provide for:

i) individual differences in abilities,

ii) practical problems from day to day life?

3 (a) Purposes (b) Subjet matter contents (c) Teaching-learning activities and other hints to
teachers (d) Evaluation

4 n actual practice the subject matter is provided in the form of textbooks. Textbooks give
the scope of each topic at a particular level. Some textbooks organize content into
suitable units or sub-units taking into consideration the relationship between the various
topics. The competencies for each unit are also listed. For organizing instruction the
teacher should identify objectives for each unit, analyse the content for locating
understanding, skill and attitudes and work out suitable aativities of learning
experiences to give maximum opportunities to children to develop desired behaviours.

5 Recently many topics, found to be outdated have been deleted. Many new topics are
now being introduced. A few notable once are sets, probability and statistics,
inequalities and computer science. These have been included because, in the recent
past, mathematics has been used widely in the social sciences, in the biological sciences,
in business, and in industry. The gradation or placement of many topics has been
changed.

6 Hence DOES TEXTBOOKHAVE CONCEPT MAPS AND CONSIDERS CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS


AS A PREREQUISITE : Does it take into pieces to seee what r the contriputary concepts.

Book 3 referred to the work of Galileo and

opportunities were given for practical activities in this

context in class; number bases other than ten were

introduced. Nevertheless the overall content was

traditional and there were many exercises to be

undertaken by pupils. What was clear, however, was

that the author had made considerable efforts to

present mathematics in a way that pupils would find

the subject at least tolerable, and possibly exciting and

rewarding.

The books were easy to handle and presented an

almost square appearance, at 21 cm by 17 cm for the

principal texts, - quite different from the 'portrait'

style presentation of the traditional textbook. One


additional colour was used on white in the printing. A

range of topics of a mainly traditional kind was

introduced and there was a limited amount of

'modern' content; there were exercises, some problems,

but also some inferential work for pupils to undertake.

Techniques such as multiplication and division were

explained at some length with practical examples,

employing, for example in relation to multiplication, a

picture of a milk crate, with its rectangular lattice of 8

x 6 spaces.

The authors went on to publish a number of

supplementary books. Typical titles were Way In

(1962), an elementary book on number

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Lisa O kafee

7 Since the mathematics textbook has such a pivotal role within the classroom the impact
of the mathematics textbook on student learning is undeniable.

8 Content, Structure, Expectation and Language.

9 According to Mikk (2000) new information motivates students, however, he states that
only 30-40% of the information presented to students should be new information. The
reality is students encounter 70 80% new information in their mathematics textbooks.
To counteract this Rivers and Mikk suggest that a number of factors such as historical
data, practical implications, humour, figurative representation and narration can serve to
enhance students motivation.

10 illustrations. This is reinforced by Mikk (2000) and Rivers (1990). Illustrations can grab
and hold a students attention.

11 According to Rivers (1990) textbooks should offer innovative resources. None of

the textbooks examined were innovative in this sense. Across all three textbook series studied
no reference to careers was evident

12 Specialist vocabulary and symbolism need to be carefully planned throughout a

textbook. High volumes of new words and symbols cause reading difficulties for

students and are reflective of the type of expectations that the textbook author is

making of the students. Unexplained or excessive use of specialist words and

symbolism can create confusion and hinder a students reading of the text while a

high frequency of imperatives suggest direct orders which is reflective of procedural

learning.