The hammer-and-nail phenomenon in mathematics education

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


"For a person with a hammer, everything looks like a nail" is a proverb that can be used to highlight the phenomenon that students tend to rely on familiar ideas as opposed to taking time to think about and analyse a problem. Presented in this theoretical paper is the usefulness of the hammer-and-nail metaphor, other related theoretical constructs, pedagogical causes of student impulsive behaviours, and pedagogical suggestions for addressing them.