A comparison of inductive and deductive teaching strategies utilizing graphing calculator capabilities
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Predating the computer by centuries has been the art and language of mathematics and man's attempts to master its facts, skills, and concepts. This mastery has depended not only on the sufficiency of the mathematics, but also on the teaching strategies of the instructor and the learning skills of the student. To know well the subject to be taught is not sufficient for teaching it well. Teaching implies more than stating knowledge--it implies learning. Learning is an act of the student. To develop an effective strategy for teaching mathematics, therefore, begins with an understanding of learning. Learning involves fact and skill learning and conceptual understanding. Psychologists have differed in their beliefs on the interaction of these. Some psychologists believe that understanding provides the basis for skills; while others believe that skills precede understanding. This study was designed to examine the effectiveness of two teaching strategies. The deductive teaching strategy was in the sequence of rule, examples, practice. The inductive teaching strategy was in the sequence of examples, rule, practice. The research questions concerned the college algebra student using a graphing calculator in a function and analytic geometry unit of college algebra. The questions asked if the inductive and deductive teaching strategies would result in similar levels of achievement of facts and procedural skills while the inductive group acquired a significantly higher level of understanding of the concepts and a significantly different attitude toward mathematics, calculators, and instructional method. The hypotheses were tested at a community college in West Texas. Two classes with 50 subjects total participated. A pretest/posttest design was utilized. Results from the achievement posttest were analyzed with an analysis of covariance with the pretest as covariate. The attitude survey was treated qualitatively. Results from the study suggest no significant difference in procedural skill or conceptual understanding, but higher factual knowledge with deductive teaching strategy.