Mathematicians' perspectives on features of a good pedagogical proof

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In this article, we report two studies investigating what mathematicians value in a pedagogical proof. Study 1 is a qualitative study of how eight mathematicians revised two proofs that would be presented in a course for mathematics majors. These mathematicians thought that introductory and concluding sentences should be included in the proofs, main ideas should be formatted to emphasize their importance, and extraneous or redundant information should be removed to avoid distracting or confusing the reader. Study 2 is a quantitative study assessing the extent to which a larger group of mathematicians (N = 110) agreed or disagreed with the eight mathematicians interviewed in Study 1. This quantitative study confirmed the findings of Study 1 by demonstrating a high degree of agreement among mathematicians regarding how they would revise proofs for pedagogical purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-169
Number of pages24
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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