Friday, 29 March 2013

Pre-course Reading (Chpater 1 & Chapter 2)

Chapter 1
Learning mathematics can be made fun and meaningful for young children if teachers set the stage right.  To assist us, we require a set of guideline to give us directions on what the children need to achieve at the different levels.  In this chapter, the authors highlighted the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.  These directions are important as they guide us when we plan teaching strategies to help young children acquire the necessary skills in mathematics.  However, I feel that all these guidelines and direction are merely white elephant if teachers are not able to effectively impart their knowledge of this subject to young children.   

Successful mathematics teachers need to have knowledge of mathematics, persistence, positive attitude, readiness for change and reflection disposition as shared  by the authors.  I agree with the authors and I am determined to improve myself to be a better mathematics teacher.  I am confident that this shift will make a great difference to the way young children in my class learn mathematics.  Hopefully, more children in my class will tackle mathematics with confidence and say "I love math!"

Chapter 2 

Children need to be involved in all their learning.  Learning mathematics is no different from learning other subjects.  When planning teaching strategies for young children, teachers can use the various theories by Piaget and Vygotsky to guide them.  Their understanding of the theories will help them set objectives that are realistic and developmentally appropriate for the children. 

I firmly believe that all children's learning should be within their zone of proximal development.  In this chapter, the authors explained that children need to be engaged in "productive struggles" during the process of learning mathematics.  Such struggles keep them engaged and eventually allow them to solve problems.  Although teachers should not spoon feed the children with solutions, I feel that we need to be observant and know when to step in to help children who have been struggling too long with a particular problem. In my view, when children are constantly challenged with mathematics problems that they cannot solve no matter how hard they try, they are not learning within their zone of proximal development.  When this happens too often, their confidence level will hit rock bottom.  It is then necessary for teachers  to reflect on their teaching strategies and make changes.  

Children can be successful learners of mathematics if teachers are able to help them make connection between the blue dots (existing ideas) and the red dots (red dots).  These connection will ultimately bring the children's understanding closer to the relational end of the continuum.  This is a goal that all successful mathematics teachers hope their children can achieve!!