The traditional way of presenting mathematical knowledge is logical deduction, which implies a monolithic structure with topics in a strict hierarchical relationship. Despite many recent developments and methodical inventions in mathematics education, many curricula are still close in spirit to this hierarchical structure. However, this organisation of mathematical ideas may not be the most conducive way for learning mathematics. In this paper, we suggest that flattening curricula by developing self-contained micro topics and by providing multiple entry points to knowledge by making the dependency graph of notions and subfields as sparse as possible could improve the effectiveness of teaching mathematics. We argue that a less strictly hierarchical schedule in mathematics education can decrease mathematics anxiety and can prevent students from ‘losing the thread’ somewhere in the process. This proposal implies a radical re-evaluation of standard teaching methods. As such, it parallels philosophical deconstruction. We provide two examples of how the micro topics can be implemented and consider some possible criticisms of the method. A full-scale and instantaneous change in curricula is neither feasible nor desirable. Here, we aim to change the prevalent attitude of educators by starting a conversation about the flat curriculum alternative.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.