Research Essay: Theoretical Stance for the Teaching of Mathematics –
As a pre-service teacher, my philosophy of teaching Mathematics is based on a constructivist, student-centred approach. I have learned, through my practicum experiences, as well as Mathematics Education courses, which advocate this approach, that it is the most effective way to teach Mathematics. This essay will explicitly describe my philosophy, as well as explain and justify the specific teaching and learning strategies related to this philosophy, supported by the research and literature.
Philosophy of Mathematics Education: Constructivist, Student-Centred Approach –
When learning Mathematics through a constructivist approach, the students are able to build their own understandings of concepts and problems, actively constructing knowledge in relevant contexts, while the teacher supports this construction of knowledge. The focus is on the personal ways of understanding and the actual process, rather than the answers. Constructivist Mathematics instruction encourages “reflective thinking, higher-order learning skills, testing viability of ideas and seeking alternative views”. The learner also understands how this knowledge of particular mathematical concepts and rules are applicable to real life problems and situations. (ict site)
Student-centred learning is vital for students to construct their understandings and commit them to memory in ways most appropriate for them. Activities that include engaging, participatory experiences, discussion, multiple tools and modes of representations and interactive demonstrations are successful in fostering learning and enthusiasm. Learning in an interactive way, with the teacher, a partner or small group makes the knowledge process meaningful and lasting, leading to better understanding. (know about teaching)
The teacher’s role as supporter of the construction of knowledge is critical. Modeling, clear explanations, questioning and feedback is vital for fostering students’ ability to make meaning of mathematical concepts. Through excellent teaching and genuine enthusiasm for Mathematics, as well as the understanding that not all students learn at the same pace or in the same way and adapting lessons accordingly, teachers can be effective co-constructers of mathematical knowledge. (learner centred constructivist)
The constructivist, student-centred teaching and learning strategies can be grouped under the headings ‘Strategies’ and ‘Tools’. These teaching and learning strategies are interrelated and can be utilised according to the given context.
Constructivist Strategies for Learning and Teaching Mathematics –
Inquiry-Based Learning or Investigations is a strategy that engages students with specific goals or open-ended questions. This problem-based approach is used to allow students to construct their knowledge by seeking resolutions to issues and learning new skills and attitudes during the course of the...