International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

How Do We Learn Mathematics? A Framework for a Theoretical and Practical Model

How to Cite

Olkun, S. (2022). How Do We Learn Mathematics? A Framework for a Theoretical and Practical Model. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 14(3), 295–302. Retrieved from

Author Biography

Sinan Olkun


I completed my undergraduate education in the field of Mechanical Education at Marmara University, Technical Education Faculty in 1985. I received my master's degree in the Department of Educational Sciences at Middle East Technical University in 1995 and my doctoral degree in 1999, in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Mathematics Education and Elementary Education from Arizona State University, USA.

From 1999 to 2004, I worked as an assistant professor at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Mathematics and Science Education Department. I transferred to Ankara University Faculty of Educational Sciences in 2004. I served as the head of the elementary education department and the head of the primary education department at the same faculty. At the same time, I was the coordinator of the primary education undergraduate, mathematics education master's and mathematics education doctoral programs. From 2014 to 2018, I worked as a full professor, head of department and dean of the Faculty of Education at TED University. I then worked as the dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at Final International University.

As a professor in the field of mathematics education in elementary education, I teach undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses and conduct research. I have also specialized on mathematics learning difficulties, number sense and development, development of mathematical thinking in children, development of geometric thinking, developing basic mathematical skills with games. I have designed two board games to improve children’s number sense.

Teaching philosophy

I have a learner-centered mindset. I believe in learning rather than teaching for individuals’ intellectual development. This is also valid for learning mathematics. The role of teachers include designing learning environments for effective learning of mathematics, and encouraging and motivating students to learn. The learning environment should be designed in accordance with multiple representations of mathematical knowledge to address multiple senses of the learners, who might have different learning styles.