Teaching Essay

560 WordsOct 26, 20133 Pages
How to Teach Mathematics For many people, free association with the word “mathematics” would produce strong, negative images. Why are associations with mathematics so negative for so many people? If we look through the lens of How People Learn, we see a subject that is rarely taught in a way that makes use of the three key principles. Principle 1: Instead of connecting with, building on, and refining the mathematical understandings, intuitions, and resourcefulness that students bring to the classroom, mathematics instruction often overrides students’ reasoning processes, replacing them with a set of rules and procedures that disconnects problem solving from meaning making. Principle 2: Instead of organizing the skills and competences required to do mathematics fluently around a set of core mathematical concepts, those skills and competencies are often themselves the center, and sometimes the whole, of instruction. Principle 3: And precisely because the acquisition of procedural knowledge is often divorced from meaning making, students do not use metacognitive strategies when they engage in solving mathematics problems. Here are 5 strands that map directly to the principles of How People Learn. 1. Conceptual understanding— comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations 2. Procedural fluency— skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately 3. Strategic competence— ability to formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems 4. Adaptive reasoning— capacity for logical thought, reflection, explanation, and justification 5. Productive disposition— habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence and one’ s own efficacy. PRINCIPLE #1: TEACHERS MUST ENGAGE STUDENTS’ PRECONCEPTIONS The first principle of How People Learn emphasizes both

More about Teaching Essay

Open Document