## Introduction

According to Curcio (1997), mathematics education is the process of teaching, studying, and researching mathematics as an academic subject. Research in mathematics education is a practice that deals with analyzing the tools, procedures, and different approaches of handling mathematics education. Mathematics at any level of study is essential for the students to fit in the modern society. An adult who is illiterate and who cannot be able to handle simple arithmetic is not employable and can hardly contribute much to our today’s advancing world. Hence teaching mathematics is important from the initial stages of study and every student must be able to make understand and make proper use of arithmetical skills.

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Curcio (1997) argues that the narrow aim of mathematics education at the primary level is to teach arithmetical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, the use of fractions, percentages, rates, and other essential skills like measures lengths and volumes. The teaching professionals should ensure that they transit this basic mathematical knowledge to their students so that it forms the foundation for greater and more advanced arithmetic at higher levels. On the other hand, the broader and greater aim of mathematics education is to develop and improve all the critical resources of a child in terms of thinking.

This study focuses on how mathematics education may be used as a foundation for promoting critical thinking among children and how it becomes a useful tool in an adult’s life and to the society in general.

## Why mathematics education

Mathematics as a subject is all about numbers. We solve practical problems by the use of numbers, and numbers are abstracts. Therefore, to solve mathematical problems, a student will be dealing with abstract problems. For students to be able to understand mathematics, they must be able to solve mathematical problems and to have the right attitude towards solving these problems. Mathematics education is important from the initial stages of education in order to familiarize the children with the tactics of solving problems and to develop a general attitude towards problem solving (Schwarts, 1997).

According to Cai (2000), the practice of mathematics education is an art that teachers must use to pass knowledge to their students. Mathematics allows teachers to encourage active participation in their students. It enables learning to become a practice that entails the action of the mind. With mathematics education, the student is given the opportunity to discover concepts on their own, where the teacher will come in to enhance their discovery and to ensure the concepts discovered are understood better. The practice begins with taking the first action and the perception of the field, which then goes on to critically understanding the mathematical concepts. Once the concepts are understood, the teacher takes the initiative of developing proper mental habits in their students which will assist them to handle problems.

Mathematics education is therefore a way of developing thinking in students. Students who are able to solve mathematical problems are also able to develop the right attitude towards solving any other problems. The practice of mathematics education facilitates the development of proper tactics to solve problems in all fields of study. It is more than just learning the calculus; it is a concept that tries to connect learning with the students’ personal development, way of thinking and the idea of forming their outlook towards life (Cai, 2000).

**How does mathematics education relate to the student?**

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According to Ferrucci (2003), mathematics education at all levels of learning is aimed at helping students to develop and enhance their abilities to classify, analyze and shape the events of the existing world. Students are required to enhance creativity in solving problems and the use of calculations and multiples helps learners to be able to gauge their creativity. Creativity among students is an important aspect in the learning process in all their course work. Mathematics in the institutions of higher learning is placed at the top of the list of the domain of all other courses.

The syllabus in today’s setting of the schools requires that scholars establish strategies towards both posing and solving problems, which is one of the main objectives of mathematics education. This means that the school curriculum must incorporate the aspect of mathematics education in giving the best to the students. There is a direct connection between the contemporary aspects of creativity in the education system and that creative concept brought out while dealing with arithmetic. Hence, mathematics education and scholarly activities must go hand in hand so that the concept of creative thinking among the scholars may be applied practically (Cai, 2000).

According to Cai (2000), one characteristic of problem posing and problem solving scheme is creativity, and this is enhanced by mathematics education. When mathematics educators engage themselves in the practice, they focus their talent on formulating and solving problems which are critical in the discipline of education through creativity. On the other hand, mathematics education takes into consideration the ability of the different students to promote creativity in their learning. It focuses on students with different ability levels. Unlike other fields of study, mathematics portrays the abilities of different students through their practical use of calculations. It is able to distinguish between talented students and the less skilled. The most skilled students are said to be creative, and they use mathematical knowledge to solve problems. On the other hand, the less talented students are not as creative as the most talented, and mathematics educators must come in to help them bring out their potential.

Hence, mathematical education can be said to directly relate to the students’ life by enabling them to develop and enhance their creativity which is highly required for the student to be able to solve problems, not only in mathematics but in other fields of study as well.

## How mathematics education is used in class and outside

When mathematicians carry out the practice of mathematics education, the first step to consider is to pose problems whose solutions are to be identified. The mathematicians then go on to solve the problems that they have posed or those that may have been identified by other scholars. However, mathematicians mainly opt to pose their own problems based on their interests and personal experiences. Other professional mathematicians outside the class room sometimes encounter complex situations that require them to pose problems and come up with the appropriate solutions and results for these problems (Ferrucci, 2003).

All this is made possible by mathematics education applied in schools. Outside the school mathematics, problems are formulated and presented by an external source for solution implementation. Mathematics education can hence be said to be used in problem formulation and problem solving. The problems can range from simple arithmetic or word problems to more complex problems that become internationally recognized (Ferrucci, 2003).

According to Cai (2000), mathematics education is also used to improve the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of scholars through creativity. The practice allows scholars to formulate multiple-solution tasks that they use to develop their mathematical creativity towards handling problems. The tasks are formulated in a way that they allow students to use their own thinking to come up with creative mathematical strategies towards solving problems and formulating models.

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**Is mathematics education necessary?**

Mathematics is an important field of study in our modern world, and anybody who does not have the basic skills of mathematics may find it difficult to succeed in the society. There is more to mathematics than just the simple arithmetic of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division, and that is the reason why mathematics education has been implemented in the school curriculum all over. Mathematics education ensures that a student, in his/her early stage of education has formed the foundation of tackling mathematical problems with ease (Cai, 2000).

It is therefore important that schools and other people who have not yet enforced the practice in their work take the initiative to do so. The practice benefits not only the students and other scholars, but the entire society as well. With creativity and high literacy levels enhanced by mathematics education, the society becomes a better place to be in.

## Summary

As a summary, it can be argued that the extent to which mathematics education is utilized determines the extent to which mathematics as a subject is understood by scholars. Mathematics education becomes a tool for teaching basic numeracy as well as the advanced, practical and abstract mathematics so that students are well equipped with them all. It forms the base for problem formulation and solving these problems, and it is used to link different ideas and to deepen the understanding of how different approaches to a problem may be used to achieve equivalent outcomes.

Mathematics education begins from the pre-primary level and goes on to assist students at the highest level of education. It is therefore a critical field that is found at all the stages of education and which advances its concepts at these different stages.

## Works Cited

Cai, J. and Kenny, P (2000). Fostering Mathematical Thinking through Multiple Solutions: Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.

Curcio, F and Schwarts, S. (1997). What Does Algebraic Thinking Look Like and Sound Like with Pre-primary Children? Teaching Children Mathematics.

Ferrucci, B, Yeap, B and Carter, J. (2003). “A Modeling Approach for Enhancing Problem-Solving in the Middle Grades: Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.

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