Developing mathematical skills and moral behavior through cultural artifacts: a study of math trail activities at Patan Durbar Square in Nepal
Nepalese education is often inclined towards rote memorization and teacher centered instruction and learning processes. In this regard, how can instruction be actively made more effective as a key idea as researchers take this into account when conducting research in this area. This study forms an ethnographic case study of one of the schools that is transforming itself from a traditional book-based teaching and learning approach to a curriculum specific child friendly learning process. As researchers and teacher trainers we have been involved in teacher training programs for numbers of schools in Nepal. What we have observed during the four years of involvement is that the training solely do not make changes in the school system. This program is helping teachers in making instructional activities that allows them to galvanize their work for increased student involvement. This research also indicates how moral behavior can be developed through math trail activities where students do field work in groups for different objectives. Children develop their understanding through day to day activities where the perspective of different contexts, culture and ethnic groups play a vital role. At this point, we started working on excursion-based instruction. The change in instruction forces them to design activities and projects that demand children to work in outside school context with curricular objectives. It ensured opportunities for participating in hands-on activities and experiential learning. Finally, this research supports the assumption that mathematical knowledge, skill and moral behavior can be developed through different cultural project-based instructional activities and cultural artifacts and practices are key to ensure effectiveness of learning.
Keywords: Ethnomathematics. Machchhindranath Chariot. School Mathematics. Cultural Artifacts. Math Trail.
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