“Students must learn Mathematics with understanding, actively building knowledge from experience and prior knowledge.” – NCTM, 2000, p. 20)
I had always thought that Math was about memorizing formulas by heart, until I learnt during my Diploma in ECH days that learning the concepts behind the formulas is more important and relevant. Math is indeed “more than completing sets of exercises or mimicking processes” (p. 13) given by the teacher.
Unfortunately or not, my Math experiences were less than exciting during my primary and secondary school days. If you told the teacher that you did not understand a method (his method, rather), the method was retold more slowly and in an angrier tone. You will never ask more than a third time for fear of his “Flying Duster” move.
If possible, Math learning should be like this:
After watching this movie some years back, it gave me ideas I want to do with my students in future too, such as
- making Math learning more personal, and not just teacher-directed (I made my students do individual multiplication flashcards).
- letting children use manipulatives to learn concepts, and Math games in the learning corners as practice or revision. (The children were excited to use manipulatives during lessons. However I still have problems attracting them to the learning corners to do Math).
And eventually getting the students to be the “teachers” for some lessons benefit both teachers and students. Students gain the confidence to present in class, and teachers learn whether or not the student presenting has comprehended correctly for “(n)o better way exists for wrestling with or cementing an idea than attempting to articulate it to others” (p.4)
Reading this chapter also gave me a better idea of how I could approach various problem sums. But even just completing this chapter was an uphill task for me. I was already stuck at the first question about the truckload of paper. I think that truckload was jammed in my processing system and completely shut it off.
I look forward to reading the other chapters to get more ideas on how to tackle Math problems in the preschool classroom.