General Mathematics

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Representation of General capabilities

The seven general capabilities of Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding, and Intercultural understanding are identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning. Teachers will find opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of the capabilities depending on their choice of learning activities.

Literacy in mathematics

In the senior years, literacy skills and strategies enable students to express, interpret and communicate complex mathematical information, ideas and processes. Mathematics provides a specific and rich context for students to develop their abilities to read, write, visualise and talk about complex situations involving a range of mathematical ideas. Students can apply and further develop their literacy skills and strategies by shifting between verbal, graphic, numerical and symbolic forms of representing problems in order to formulate, understand and solve problems and communicate results. This process of translation across different systems of representation is essential for complex mathematical reasoning and expression. Students learn to communicate their findings in different ways, using multiple systems of representation and data displays to illustrate the relationships they have observed or constructed.

Numeracy in mathematics

The students who undertake this subject will develop their numeracy skills at a more sophisticated level than in Foundation to Year 10. This subject contains financial applications of mathematics that will assist students to become literate consumers of investments, loans and superannuation products. It also contains statistics topics that will equip students for the ever-increasing demands of the information age.

ICT in mathematics

In the senior years students use ICT both to develop theoretical mathematical understanding and to apply mathematical knowledge to a range of problems. They use software aligned with areas of work and society with which they may be involved such as for statistical analysis, data representation and manipulation, and complex calculation. They use digital tools to make connections between mathematical theory, practice and application; for example, using data, addressing problems, and operating systems in authentic situations.

Critical and creative thinking in mathematics

Students compare predictions with observations when evaluating a theory. They check the extent to which their theory-based predictions match observations. They assess whether, if observations and predictions do not match, it is due to a flaw in the theory or in the method of applying the theory to make predictions, or both. They revise, or reapply, their theory more skilfully, recognising the importance of self-correction in the building of useful and accurate theories and in making accurate predictions. 

Personal and social capability in mathematics

In the senior years students develop personal and social competence in mathematics by setting and monitoring personal and academic goals, taking initiative, building adaptability, communication, teamwork and decision making.

The elements of personal and social competence relevant to mathematics mainly include the application of mathematical skills for decision making, life-long learning, citizenship and self-management. As part of their mathematical explorations and investigations, students work collaboratively in teams, as well as independently.

Ethical understanding in mathematics

In the senior years students develop ethical understanding in mathematics through decision making connected with ethical dilemmas that arise when engaged in mathematical calculation, the dissemination of results, and the social responsibility associated with teamwork and attribution of input.

The areas relevant to mathematics include issues associated with ethical decision making as students work collaboratively in teams and independently as part of their mathematical explorations and investigations. Acknowledging errors rather than denying findings and/or evidence involves resilience and the examined ethical behaviour. Students develop increasingly advanced communication, research, and presentation skills to express viewpoints.

Intercultural understanding in mathematics

Students understand mathematics as a socially constructed body of knowledge that uses universal symbols but has its origins in many cultures. Students understand that some languages make it easier to acquire mathematical knowledge than others. Students also understand that there are many culturally diverse forms of mathematical knowledge, including diverse relationships to number, and that diverse cultural spatial abilities and understandings are shaped by a person’s environment and language.

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