Chapter 2: Exploring what it means to know and do Mathematics

Chapter 2

 I agree that a teacher can make or kill one’s interest for a particular subject. Through my own experiences, I agree that Math should be learn with understanding rather than ‘drilling’. In my secondary school days, my Math teacher would either drill his students with questions from ten years series or from stacks of worksheets from the various top schools. Over time, I felt like it was a chore to attempt the questions. I start to lose the eagerness to wanting to solve the math problem. The sense of satisfaction was never attained because learning becomes nothing more than ‘rote learning’.

In this reading, I would like to highlight two very interesting points which were discussed in the chapter.  

Persistance, effort, and concentration are important in learning Mathematics.

This point helped me to be aware that ‘productive struggle’ is something which is beneficial to the students. In our local context, we seems to have many educators who feel the need to ‘explain’ or ‘show’ the answer to the students if we notice that they are spending more than the required time to complete the problem. To be honest, I am like the many educators out there who would go all in to explain to my student on a certain problem or task. However, through this reading, I realized that I am actually not helping my students instead, I am robbing away the much needed opportunities for them to understand Mathematics.

An unhurried setting provides children with the opportunities to self-explore and discover (Gonzalez-Mena, & Eyer, 2004).

 Have students share and listen to each other.

In my experiences as an educator, I agree that having students share and listen to one another is a very effective strategy for learning, not particularly in just learning Mathematics but in other areas too. I observed that when children share their knowledge or findings with their peers, they are able to tap on these knowledge which invites further discussion into a topic. The sharing also helped children to identify, learn and look at things from a different perspective. Likewise in Mathematics, students can learn from one another that there are different strategies that they can use in approaching the same problem. This would help them to learn and understand that there is no one solution to solving a problem and as an educator, I welcome these variations.

 Knowledge becomes more elaborate as children explore and interact with others (Geary & Bjorklund, 2000; Leslie, 2004).

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