Presentation by Amir Juarez at the 1st Belize National Research Conference, March 2018.
History has long been used as an effective teaching tool in academic disciplines such as Literature, Philosophy and Medicine, why not in Mathematics too? Using history to teach Mathematics is globally supported scientifically. It can serve to motivate learning and increase understanding of mathematics by being a connector between concrete and abstract ideas, scientific thoughts and problems of different times, cultures and contexts. This study seeks to unravel the association between students´ underperformance in Mathematics and the absence of organized didactical strategies, a factor suspected to condone students´ poor understanding of mathematics at a Belizean junior college. It investigates didactical strategies used in College Algebra, a first year Pure Mathematics course, and explores the nature of didactical strategies enhanced with pedagogical tendencies that can better approximate students´ knowledge and understanding of content to expected institutional learning outcomes. It proposes to accomplish this through the cognitive-historic-social-cultural pedagogical approach, advocating a set of didactical strategies that use elements of the history of algebraic contents. The merger of substantiated didactical strategies, categorized reasons and techniques of using history in the teaching of Mathematics, and reviewed pedagogical tendencies in mathematics education can prove effective in increasing students´ knowledge and understanding of mathematics.
Key words: College Algebra, pedagogy, teaching methods, history