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Alf Coles's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Alf Coles recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Alf Coles's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Starting Points

Recommended by Alf Coles, and 1 others.

Alf ColesThis, for many years, was my Bible of teaching. I got to know about it through Laurinda Brown, with whom I have worked and co-researched for many years now. The third author, Dick Tahta, who is dead now, was a close friend of Laurinda’s. I knew him in the last ten years or so of his life and he influenced me hugely. It’s a very simple book on one level. It begins by talking about ways of working... (Source)

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This book presents an approach to the teaching of mathematics that departs radically from conventional prescription-oriented and management-based methods. It brings together recent developments in such diverse fields as continental and pragmatist philosophy, enactivist thought, critical discourses, cognitive theory, evolution, ecology, and mathematics, and challenges the assumptions that permeate much of mathematics teaching. The discussion focuses on the language used to frame the role of the teacher and is developed around the commonsense distinctions drawn between thought and action,... more
Recommended by Alf Coles, and 1 others.

Alf ColesThis book was an important part of my own research journey. It’s by a man named Brent Davis and it’s a write up of his PhD thesis. What he got interested in was trying to say something about the listening of the teacher. I just found that such an appealing idea. From when I first read it in 1999, the idea of the importance of listening has been a recurrent theme of interest for me, both in my... (Source)

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Recommended by Alf Coles, and 1 others.

Alf ColesSo Don Cohen gets children excited about ideas of infinity. One of the activities he does with very young children is getting them to consider what happens if you add 1/2 to a 1/4 and then add on an 1/8 and 1/16 and a 1/32 and so on to infinity. He does this by getting people to imagine a square. Picture a square in your mind and imagine shading half of it. Then shade a quarter — a half of the... (Source)

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"Since knowing produces knowledge, and not the other way around, this book shows how everyone can be a producer rather than a consumer of mathematical knowledge. Mathematics can be owned as a means of mathematizing the universe, just as the power of verbalizing molds itself to all the manifold demands of experience." C. Gattegno less
Recommended by Alf Coles, and 1 others.

Alf ColesI could have chosen almost any book by Caleb Gattegno and in fact one of the exciting things is that most of his books are now available for free on a website, Gattegno was a maths educator who talked about, in his own practice, teaching the entire five-year secondary maths curriculum in 18 months — and teaching it to mastery. What he meant by mastery was that students were... (Source)

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Proofs and Refutations

The Logic of Mathematical Discovery

A novel introduction to the philosophy of mathematics, mostly in the form of a discussion between a group of students and their teacher. It combats the positivist picture and develops a much richer, more dramatic progression. less
Recommended by Alf Coles, and 1 others.

Alf ColesI first came across this book at university in a course on the philosophy of mathematics. Looking back, it was one of my first experiences of how maths could be different to how I was taught it. In the book, Lakatos takes a particular area of mathematics to do with shape and recreates an imaginary dialogue where he and the characters in the book go through this extraordinary process of developing... (Source)

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