Pre-course Reading

11/08/2013 16:24

Chapters 1 & 2

Dear Parents,

I am sure many of you have the same concerns and struggles when it comes to coaching Math to your children. I a teacher I do not deny that it is challenging to teach Math to a classroom of children with various learning milestones. However, there are solutions to each challenges. So can you.

Through this blog, I hope to share some useful strategies which you can apply on your children. To begin with, let me share why Math is being taught in schools.

Firstly, let me share the 3 out of the 6 principles for school mathematics:

1)    Equity

Excellence in mathematics education requires equity - high expectationsand strong support for all students (NCTM, 2000, p.12)

This principle meant that Math is an important skill that each child must learn. It is an extremely a life-long learning subject. This is because Math is around us, encircling us in our daily lives. Have you ever wondered what it is without Math? Are we able to tell the time? Will we be able to describe objects (eg. colours/shapes/sizes)? Will we be able to buy things  independently without getting cheated? Will we be able to know how much weight we need to lose? :(

2)     Curriculum

A curriculum is more than a collection of activities: it must be coherent, focused on importtant mathematics, and well articulated across the grades. (NCTM, 2000, p. 14)

Indeed teachers and parents need to have a set of guidelines on what children ought to be taught according to the age group. Thus, a set of curriculum will be set to educate teachers and parents to teach the developmentally appropriate Math skills on the children. The curriculum not only informs us on the mathematical skills and concepts to teach but it will only guides us to plan interesting activities for the children. I strongly believe that in order to entice Math interest in children, teachers/parents can plan interesting and hands-on activities in class or at home.

3)    Teaching

    Effective mathematics teaching requires understanding what students know and need to learn and then challenging and supporting them to learn it well. (NCTM, 2000, p. 16)

As teachers and parents, we need to assess the child's learning ability in the subjects. It is important that children's learning is being scaffold so that children will be able to grasp concepts with understanding. As Math is mostly the least favourite subject for all, teachers and parents thus have to ensure that the teaching approach is fun and creative to make it more enticing. To me, Math is a subject that should be learnt through hands-on approach. At home, parents can use the simplest things around them to teach Math concepts. For example, using clothes pegs and hangers to do number bonds activity and using food to learn fractions.

With 3 of these principles that I've shared, I hope it has certainly enlightened your worries for Mathematics.

I would like to share how the classroom environment plays an important role in teaching Mathematics:-

1)     Persistence, effort and concentration

Lots of motivation and support are shared in our classroom to encourage each other to work on Math. It is important that each child to try his best and not to give up on his Math task. Practice makes Math better and perfect!

2)    Students share their ideas and listen to to each other

We listen to each other's ideas in class. It is important that each sharing and ideas are respected and addressed. Children learns better this way and being confident to share allows children to not be afraid to make mistakes. By sharing our knowledge, we will  be able to discover that there may be more ways to solve a problem.

3)    Errors or strategies that didn't work are opportunities for learning

I consistently share with the children that it is fine to make mistakes. Mistakes allows us to work on tasks better and make us more efficient.

4)    Students look for and discuss connections

Understanding a concept or skill will be more effective if students practice applying what was taught to other tasks or even to to their daily lives.