Hi, I “Arshi Sharma”, Maths teacher in Schiller Sr. Secondary School, who also happens to be passionate about math & making it accessible and maybe even likable by my students!
To help you do the same, here I am, to share my experiences for the same and what principles should a mathematician follow for making math an interesting subject for the students by grasping their levels.
1. The beauty and power of mathematical changes everyone’s life. </li>
2. Several people have stories, math can be the worst of times and best of times like journey of discovery, frustration & the spare.
3. We practically expect the mathematical class to be repetition and memorization. Even I am not surprised that students are not motivated, leave school and they dislike math and they committed to leaving math for their whole life.
4. Without mathematics, our career opportunities are constrained. The goal of this blog is to stimulate reflection by providing mathematicians with high-quality ideas regarding teaching and learning. Because there is no simple solution to the challenges facing mathematics education, this blog will serve as a big tent.
GROWTH MINDSET FOR STUDENTS
Helping kids to view math learning with a growth mindset is one of the most important things we can do as educators.
FIVE PRINCIPLES OF EXTRAORDINARY MATH TEACHING
I believe every child can succeed in math with the right help and support. So I’m here to help you provide rich and engaging math principles.
There are five principles which a mathematician should follow to teach math effectively.
1. Start with Questions- Students must ask the questions before starting any topic to check their approach and their previous knowledge. That will let them enhance their critical thinking.
2. Students need time to struggle- Time should be given to the students for putting their efforts as there are different levels of thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy. So every student will be having a different level of thinking. So time allotment is required for allowing students to struggle on the question.
3. You are not the answer key- Teachers are not the answer key. If students ask the teachers why is it so? To depend upon the answers from the teachers will restrict the students to inculcate a sense of moral responsibility and to enhance their reasoning skills. So teachers are not the answer keys.
4. Say yes to students ideas – Students have a different point of thinking and their approach to the problem is also different. So what ideas students are giving, teachers should say yes and appreciate them to make them motivated. There are various math patterns and series in which students will try to find the different solutions. Sometimes they will be saying that an illogical pattern is correct or vice versa but the teachers should accept their ideas to not make them demotivated.
5. Mathematics is not about the following rules, it’s playing- Math should be taken as a fun, not as a constrained subject in which students will be restricted to follow some pre-defined rules. So its just like to play. Because some students have disliking and fear for math, so teachers should teach math as a fun based activity to develop their skills, aptitude, reasoning skills and for enhancing their cognitive development. Through this, students could get rid of their fear towards math & will start liking math.
The more math I understand and the better I understand it, the more likely I am to evaluate student ideas for how well they align with mine.
1st example is –
Which one doesn’t belong? I asked the class.
A. 5x – 5 = 20
B. 5x = 25
C. 5x – 15 = 10
D. -5x + 10 = -5
One student said that B didn’t belong because “it’s the only one with two variables”.
I knew this was formally and factually incorrect. 25 isn’t a variable. It became very tempting at that moment to say, “ Oh nice- but 25 isn’t a variable.” Does anybody have any other reasons why B doesn’t belong?”
I talked in front of the class about the sense the student had made, rather than the sense, she hadn’t yet made.
“There are two of something in B. Does anybody know a name for it?”
My content knowledge encourages me to evaluate student ideas for their alignment to my level of understanding rather than appreciating the student’s level of understanding and building from there.
2nd example is –
Two players scored the points as 36/ 38 & 18/20
A student says that both players are equally good because they both only missed two shots.
Those students understood the absolute difference between the denominator and the numerator (two shots missed) but not the relative difference (two shots missed when you took 38 is better than when you took 20). They required more experience at a particular level of mathematics.
Perhaps you and I both know a proper algorithm that would help us to get an answer to this question (eg. Calculating common denominators; calculating a percentage) but simply explaining that algorithm would conceal some very necessary mathematical work. Explaining that formal algorithm would also tell students that “ The informal sense you have made of mathematics so far isn’t even worth talking about. We need to raze it entirely and rebuild a different kind of sense from the base.”
I blundered into those moments most often when I understood my own ideas better than I understood the ideas a student was offering me and time was running short. In each instance, I could tell I was contributing to a student’s sense that her ideas weren’t worth all that much and that math can’t be figured out without the help of a grownup, if even then. I was able to convert my mathematical content knowledge from a curse to a blessing every time I convinced myself that a student’s ideas were more interesting to me than my own and I used my content knowledge to help me understand her ideas.
Here is a truth about my best teaching I learned –
“Make yourself more interested in the sense that your students are making rather than the sense they aren’t making.
Celebrate and build on that sense.”