L’enseignement des fractions en France et en Nouvelle- Zélande

Abstract : It might be expected that teaching fractions and decimals in English-speaking countries and in French-speaking countries would be closely similar. This study argues that this is not the case. The most obvious difference concerns mixed numbers, which are neither used nor taught anymore in France. Reasons for these differences seem to be more socio-political than mathematical. We examine the history of fractions and discuss issues of notation. The history of the decimalisation of weights and measures is also relevant. Decimalisation originated in France at the end of the 18 th century and today is still not fully adopted in Anglo-Saxon countries. Using a decimal system for weights and measures makes mixed numbers a mathematical oddity. The mathematical differences, evident in the two groups of countries, are reflected in the everyday language used for numbers and measurement. In English, mixed numbers are expressed as numbers, but in French the whole and fractional parts are separated. The comparison of the French and the New Zealand curricula reveals that in France fractions are taught after decimals, which is the opposite in New Zealand. This difference of order of presentation in the mathematics curricula influences students' conceptions of number and the errors they are prone to make.
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Caroline Poisard, Bill Barton. L’enseignement des fractions en France et en Nouvelle- Zélande. 2007, Aug 2007, Sainte Livrade, France. ⟨hal-01086478⟩

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