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During the nineteen fiftes many mathematics educator came to believe that the

prevailing lecture method for teaching mathematics was resulting in rote learning
which was not meaningful to students, as new mathematics programs with an
emphasis upon understanding of concepts were developed and implemented in
schools during the nineteen sixties, verbal expository teaching resulted in rote
learning, and teaching models such as discovery learning , inquiry and
mathematics laboratories were thought to be more appropriate methods for
fostering meaningful learning. However , there were people who still believed that
since the lecture method of teaching had worked reasonably well in the past, it
should not be discarded as a bad teaching strategy. Trouhgout this period, the
learning theorist David P. ausubel argued that expository teaching was the only
efficient way to transmit the accumulated discoveries of countless generations to
each succeeding generation and that many ot the recently popular methods were
not only inefficient , but were also ineffective in promoting meaningful learning,
Ausubels theory of meaningful verbal learning contains a procedure foe effective
expository teaching resulting in meaningful learning. To Ausubel, the lecture or
expository method is a very effective teaching strategy, and he believes that
educator should devote more effort toward developing effevtive expository teaching
techniques.
Now that studies of mathematics skils in children and young adults (for
examples, , Ausubels theory of meaningful verbal learning contains a procedure foe
effective expository teaching resulting in meaningful learning. To Ausubel, the
lecture or expository method is a very effective teaching strategy, and he believes
that educator should devote more effort toward developing effevtive expository
teaching techniques.
Now that studies of mathematics skils in children and young adults (for
examples, studies conducted by the National Assessment of Aducational Progress,
NAEP) indicate that all is not well in applying arithmetic skils, many people arre
beginning to question the new mathematics programs and the new teaching=
method. A study completed in 1965 by the NAEP and reported in the august. 1975
NAEP Newsletter showed that fewer than half of the 17-year-olds and young adults
between the ages of 26-35 could solve simple consumer arithmetic problems. An
ealier NAEP study found that people in these same age groups were reasonabl
proficient in solving textbook-type arithmetic problems, so there appears to be a
problem in teaching meaningful, real-world applications of arithmetic. This un
fortunate dilemma for mathematics education may lend some support to Ausubels
sontention that the popular non-expository teaching methods do not necesseraily
result in the learning of meaningful problem-solving procedures.
Reception and discovery learning meaningful and rote learning.
Ausubels theory of meaningful verbal learning contains a rationale for expository
teaching and shows how lecture-type lessons can be organized to teach the

structure of a discipline to make learning more meaningful to students . as a


proponent of expository teaching and verbal learning , Ausubel shows how reception
learning can be both efficient and meaningful. However , some critics of reception
learning and some proponents of discovery learning claim that reception learning
usually is rote learning and discovery learning usually is meaningful learning for
students . sonsequently, many of Ausubels writings contain a discussion of
reception learning versus discovery learning and meaningful learning versus rote
learning, in which he refutes these claims.
In an article in the February 1968 aritmetic teacher, ausubel describes
reception learning and discovery learning as follows:
The distinction between reception and discovery learning is not difficult to
understand. In reception learning the principal content of what is to be learnedis
presented to the learner in more or less final from. The learning does not involve
any discovery on his part. He is required only to internalize the material or
incorporate it into his cognitive structure so that it is available for reproduction or
other use at some future date. The essential feature of discovery learning on the
other hand , is that the principal content of what is to be learned is not given but
must be discovered by the learner before he can internalize it; the distinctive and
prior learning task, in other words, is to discover something. After this phase is
completed , the discovered content is internalized just as in receptive earning. (p.
126)
The following explanation of ausubels distinction between rote and
meaningful learning is taken from his article in the January 1961 issue of
educational theory.
The distinction between rote and meaningful learning is frequently confused
with the reception-discovery distinction . this confusion is partly responsible for
the widespread but unwarranted belief that reception learning is invariable rote and
that discovery learning is invariably meaningful. Actually, each distinction
constitutes an entirely independent dimension of learning . hence , both reception
and discovery learning can each be rote or meaningful depending on the conditions
under which learning occurs.
B meaningful learning we also refer primarily to a distinctive kind of
learning procces, and only secondarily to a meaningful learning outcame at.