Teaching Mathematics: Strategies and Standards

Introduction

From studying of the two topics, it is evident that a mathematics teacher can draw the following while focussing on outcomes 1 and 2:

  1. There are various creative strategies and activities for teaching mathematics, which can be compared with learning a new game in that it takes time, perseverance and feedback from others before one’s body recognizes it and then does what needs to be done to fit all the pieces together, in a coherent and consistent whole (Frid, 2001). Mathematics teachers should help the students relate these activities to mathematics.
  2. The strategies aim at broadening understanding of mathematics by the students and helping them change their attitude towards it by cultivating activities full of fun as an approach of solving mathematical problems. Therefore, the students find mathematics more interesting and full of fun as they creatively think of activities that relate to it (Booker et al., 2010).
  3. The strategies and resources used should aim at encouraging students to learn new ways of tackling mathematics other than presenting them with a standard method. Mathematics teachers should therefore recognize the need to engage students in authentic mathematical tasks, games and investigations that require thinking and understanding rather than the memorization of facts, procedures and techniques.
  4. The students should be able to relate with other activities without the classroom that present them with creative ideas on how to achieve mathematical excellence. Mathematics teachers should encourage students to come up with these ideas and relate with non-class materials that will help them achieve mathematical success.

Teaching mathematics strategies

Understanding of the various strategies for teaching mathematics helps mathematics teachers focus on the most appropriate teaching strategies that assist students in learning and recognizing their own ways of solving mathematical problems (Booker et al., 2010; Geddes, 1992). Use of creative strategies however requires independent thinking which requires more time.

When I was a student, use of mathematical formulae was the most appropriate strategy. We practiced by re-doing the problems over and over until the desired outcome was achieved. Booker et al. (2010) in their research on teaching strategies found that the role of a learner is to practice what is provided until it can be readily reproduced; only after then would the (successful) learner be shown and given practice in ways of applying this knowledge in different situations.

This strategy apparently took less time as students could hold discussions for easier and quicker understanding. Most of my mates had a similar experience when learning mathematics as students. This assessment relates to outcome 1 and 2 whose objectives to help in understanding the various mathematics teaching strategies along with the criticisms of the resources in their application to teaching in primary schools (Zevenbergen, Dole, & Wright, 2004).

Conclusion

Mathematics teachers should embrace creative non-class activities as strategies for teaching mathematics. The teachers need to select simple and short, yet potentially effective and powerful activities which can spark interesting and relevant discussion. For instance, teachers would ask students to identify food that has mathematical features and give reasons for the answers. Activities that have sufficient complexity to yield diverse perspectives, for example sports, music, computer games or the latest fashions should be used (Frid, 2001). These strategies will help students embrace, appreciate and solve mathematical problems more easily.

Reference list

Booker, G., Bond, D., Sparrow, L., & Swan, P. (2010). Teaching primary mathematics. (4th ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.

Frid, S. (2001). Food for thought: Initiating discussion about mathematics learning. Australian Mathematics Teacher, 57(1), 7-16.

Geddes, D. (1992). Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics: Addenda Series: Geometry in the Middle Grades. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Reys, R., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D., & Smith, N. (2009). Helping children learn mathematics. (9th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Zevenbergen, R., Dole, S., & Wright, R. J. (2004). Teaching mathematics in primary schools. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.