Sunday, 31 March 2013

Teaching and Exploring Mathematics

Mathematics’ – The Subject that I love to hate. 
 Mathematics is one of the subjects that I love to hate during my school days. I totally lost my interest in the subject when I failed all my exams during my secondary school.However, my perception changed just a little, when I started working as a pre-school teacher. I realise that there are many interest ways and approaches of how we can introduced mathematical concepts in early childhood.

Upon reading Chapter 1, I am glad to know that for more than two decades the mathematics education has been going through changes gradually. I strongly agree that as teacher, we should boost the children’s interest with mathematics, base on our beliefs about what it means to know and do mathematics and how the children understands about mathematics will effects  how we teach.

With the introduction of the six principles which is equity, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment and technology indicates that excellence in mathematics education involves more than listing the content objectives. Base on the six principles, I do agree that each child should be given opportunity and support to learn mathematics. We should also focus the importance of mathematics in our curriculum. To make the teaching of mathematics more effective, we need to understand what the children know and need to learn. This will also depends on what we provide in the children’s learning base on the daily lesson that we provide. In the process of learning mathematics, the children must understand and can understand what they learn. It is also important to have a continuous assessment to see the children’s progress in learning mathematics. The children now are fortunate as they are exposed with multi media. Using modern technology such as computers, calculators and other media technologies is also essential in teaching mathematics to the children.

Back then in the 70s, my first experience of learning mathematics was basically rote counting, memorising the tables and to understand the concepts of addition, subtractions, multiplication and division. The ‘all time favourite’ instructions that I heard from my teacher was count, memorise, copy and listen. In chapter 2, I realised that my traditional ways of learning mathematics are considered lower-level thinking activities which do not adequately prepare the children for the real act of doing mathematics.

As a pre-school teacher, I often used simple instructions such as find out, see the difference and think when teaching mathematics. Upon reading the text, I agree that by using such verbs such as explore, investigate, solve, compare and predict will stimulate children’s thinking about mathematical ideas. Using such verbs as instructions may not only develop a higher-level thinking but also develop their vocabulary.

In this chapter, I simply love the term ‘productive struggle’. It gives me a good interpretation of how we should teach and how children should learn mathematics. Children should have the prior knowledge and tools of how to solve a problem which they are able to achieve. Simple and straightforward tasks may not give them an energetic attempt to achieve the mathematical ideas. Thus, they must know that they need to go through the ‘struggling processes before achieving the success.

Hopefully, upon completing this module, although I may still not fall in love with mathematics, but I hope that I will be able to make the children love the subject.    


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