A Study on the Influence of Classical Mathematics Reading Course on Medical Students$ Beliefs about Mathematics

  • Ying, Jia-Ming (PI)

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


The main purpose of this study is to investigate how beliefs held by students in a medical university change through the courses of classical mathematics reading. Medical doctors and practitioners are highly respected in the Taiwanese society. The trend in medicine-related departments in universities to see mathematics as instruments and reduce the requirements in mathematics, may send an image to medical practitioners, and indirectly to the Taiwanese people, that mathematics is merely tools to pass entrance exams and to solve certain technical problems, and there is no need to pay attention to important thinking methods in mathematics. The experiments of this project will be performed in classical mathematics reading courses in a medical university using Mandarin and English as its teaching languages. The research is going to use important classical texts in mathematics – such as Euclid’s Elements, Archimedes’ On the Sphere and the Cylinder, or The Nine Chapters of Mathematical Art and Liu Hui’s commentary – as means to bring students to the realm of “mathematics culture”. The value of classics reading is to lead students though deep thinking processes by means of the understanding and interpreting paradigmatic texts. Classics in mathematics should also function in this way. Past education for university students in general, and for medical students in particular, have never used classics in mathematics, neither is any significant research done about this topic. It is the core concept of this project to see whether courses in classical mathematics reading and in mathematics culture can change the instrumentalist view which might be held by medical students toward mathematics. Subjects of this study are students from different departments of a medical university. The courses of classical mathematics reading are taught by reading the original words or English translations of classical mathematics texts. This study uses single-group pretest-posttest design. Research tools are questionnaires for pre-tests and post-tests, in-class reflections, and semi-structured interviews. The duration of this project is two years. The first year will be used to edit materials from classical mathematics texts, to design teaching methods and questionnaires, and to do the pilot study. In the second year, two different courses in Greek and in Chinese classical mathematics reading courses will be experimented in two semesters. Whether these two courses have different influences to students is also one aspect this project wants to investigate.
Effective start/end date8/1/147/31/15


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