TEACHING MATHEMATICS Essay Example
The Role of the Teacher in Teaching and Learning Mathematics
Integration across a range of learning areas
The concept of integration simply rests on the premise that life in the real world is made up of interdependent experiences. In that case, therefore, a teacher has to conduct teaching and learning process in a way that complements other learning areas. Integration is also a move towards realizing educational goals i.e. successful learner should demonstrate creativity, innovativeness, resourcefulness and capability to solve problems by using knowledge derived from other learning areas (ACARA, 2010).
Learning mathematics through an approach of integration is beneficial since a child’s development and learning are interconnected. When a child acquires skills in one area, that child will further explore the learnt concept and subsequently apply the skill in other areas (YC Young Children, 2008).
teacher can practice integration across diverse disciplines in several ways. In numbers content strand, a classroom is divided into various groups to facilitate sharing ideas and materials. In the group setting, children are able to develop strategies for solving a problem, perusing through books to offer solutions, and relating problems with life experiences. This approach to integration links various learning areas such as social science, arts, literacy, and mathematics. Considering a country like Rwanda, a curriculum that capitalises on information technology is already being rolled out and is effective in integrating learning across disciplines. A
The use of questioning in a constructivist environment
According to Constance and Ewing (1996), constructivism theory recognizes the fact that learning emanates from inside the child. The theory notes that a child progresses from doing the wrong thing to a correct one. To apply constructivist theory, a teacher must be well versed with physical, social and logic mathematics knowledge. Questioning is a constructivist approach where a teacher tries to understand knowledge already possessed by a child so as to know how such knowledge will be used to learn new skills or rather building new constructs.
Questioning not only informs a teacher of a student’s previous knowledge but it also stimulates a child’s thinking and learning (Cooke1 & Buchholz, 2005).
An example to showing application of questioning during a mathematics classroom is the use of divergent and convergent questions to know what a child understands. A teacher can ask students to say something about a triangle. Another question is how many sides does a rectangle have?
The use of play and hands on resources in a rich environment
Early Years Learning Framework was endorsed simply because of its links with the sense of being, belonging, and becoming (DEEWR, 2013). DEEWR asserts that besides allowing a child to access the world, play presents an environment for a child to construct knowledge while at the same time interacting with the physical environment and with fellow students.
Facilitating a child to play in a rich environment that has various concrete materials has the impact of supporting exploration, new discoveries, manipulation, and active learning. It is critical for a teacher to ensure that there exists some sense of flow and direction in order for play to yield positive results. To avoid causing some interruption, a teacher can be a co-player or play the role of role modelling. Through play, children are able to present challenging questions, enrich their play, and learn from other students.
An example of a the use of play and hands on resources when learning mathematics is providing students with shapes and blocks that can be manipulated to form various shapes. Children are also provided with papers that can be cut and used to form desired shapes.
The use of assessment when planning and teaching
A research by Masters (2013) shows that assessment is a continuous process of identifying location of a learner in learning domain, deduce errors and misconceptions, plan teaching, monitor progress, evaluate effectiveness of teaching strategies and materials, and provide feedback for student. After establishing a content strand to be tested, a teacher devises ways of gathering information that will show where a student is in that content strand. Thirdly, a teacher will come up with ways of evaluating student response. Generally, the use of multiple measures approach to an assessment is indispensible because it helps a teacher to make wise decisions particularly with respect to understanding content (Brookhart, 2009).
Responses from assessments help a teacher to make decisions, understand nature of individual students, choose classroom instructions, and several other aspects of education. It therefore means that assessment is not limited to just testing but captures other classroom dynamics (Killen, 2005).
An example of the use of assessment is asking students some few questions at the end of the lesson. The result of the assessment informs future lesson i.e. how to change strategies and materials to enhance future understanding. Since assessment is a continuous process, a teacher will change strategies and materials based on assessment outcome.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting and Authority, ACARA. (2010). Foundation – year 10 curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Mathematics/Curriculum/F-10
Brookhart, S. M. (2009). The many meanings of “Multiple Measures.” Educational Leadership, 67(3), 6–12.
Constance, K., & Ewing, J. K. (1996). Basing teaching on Piaget’s constructivism. Childhood Education,
72(5), 260. ProQuest Centralpg.
Cooke, B. D., & Buchholz, D. (June 2005). Mathematical Communication in the Classroom: A Teacher Makes a Difference. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32 (6), 365-369. Doi: 10.1007/s10643-005-0007-5.
Department of Education Employment and Work Relations, DEEWR. (2013, August 29). Early Years Learning Framework. Retrieved from http://deewr.gov.au/early-years-learning- framework.
Killen, R. (2005). Programming and assessment for quality teaching and learning.
South Melbourne: Thompson (Cengage).
Masters, G. N. (2013). Reforming Educational Assessment: Imperatives, principles and challenges. Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/aer/12.
YC Young Chilren. (2008, March). Integrating the Curriculum in the Early Years and Beyond. YC Young Children, 63(2), 10. ProQuest Central.
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