Saturday, 30 March 2013

Exploring What It Means to Know and Do Mathematics

In this chapter, I learned that doing mathematics helps children to analyse the pattern, create strategies to problem solve and to understand the relationships between the process and concepts.

According to Piaget, children construct knowledge to generate new ideas which happens in two ways - assimilation and accommodation in a equilibrium. Therefore in mathematics, children uses their prior knowledge to understand the problem and try to 'insert' new knowledge to see if the problem could be solved.

Children uses such representations to translate their knowledge on mathematics. In the early years, I understand that if teachers provide various opportunities to allow children to understand such representations, they are able to translate a concept from one representation to another, thus enables them to  problem solve and understand the computations. One example is providing manipulative or counters for children as they are visual learners and it helps them to understand and grasp the concept, such as addition or subtraction, better. 

Teaching Mathematics in the 21st Century

Back during my preschool days, I could recall learning maths through route counting and representational counting. But times have change and the content of learning for mathematics in the early years have deepened. To become an effective teacher of mathematics, one must comprehend the concepts and skills of mathematics and know how the children learn  mathematics. 

The NCTM has come up with principles and standards to act as a tool to guide and support teachers in teaching pre-K-12 mathematics. Each principle plays an interrelated role of emphasizing the importance of  teaching mathematics to young children. Out of the six principles, I feel that the Equity Principle is the most important as teachers should be given opportunities and support to learn mathematics. When I was younger, I hated maths so much because I often make careless mistakes while doing my sums. And no matter how my teacher explains it, I could never get the concepts right. 

After reading chapter 1, I have learned the basic concepts that my preschool children should acquire and the positive characteristics a teacher should have when teacher mathematics. I feel that I could adapt such dispositions and apply it into my daily teachings.