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Writing In My Math Class Essay

1265 words - 5 pages

There is a common misconception among math teachers they “believe that mathematics revolves around numbers and formulas, not words” (Freitag 20). However that is not true, writing is very important for the understanding of mathematical concepts. Math is all about algorithms and solving equations, but you need to be able to use writing to explain your thought process. This includes knowing specific mathematical vocabulary to show the process of solving the algorithms. For many math teachers it is hard to write out the steps that you do so naturally in your head because it has become second nature. Then you get into having to explain why you did a certain step and why you cannot do a different step. For example it is very easy for me to divide fractions in my head just by mentally doing the keep-change-flip. So through my math course we had to discover why we were taught to do that. It turns out that you can divide straight across the fractions, but you need to keep up with the remainders. Which dividing fractions that way will work, it is very easy for students to get confused in all the fractions on top of fractions. For any teacher they don’t feel conformable teaching something that they have not been trained in. They would not make the English teacher teach a class on scientific notation. This is because that teacher has not been trained in how to teach solving equations with scientific notations. This is true for many math teachers they have a fear of having to teach children writing skills because it is “something they may feel they are not trained to do” (Freitag 20). So they believe that writing would be better taught by the English teacher who has had trained in teaching writing. However the writing you do for a math class is completely different from other content area writing.
Writing in math is used to help the students explain their thought process of solving the problem. The student’s ability to explain in writing of learned concepts “is related to the ability to comprehend and apply mathematical concepts” (Freitag 19). Writing allows the student to make their main point in a way that helps them to organize and clarify their thought process.
In Freitag’s article “Reading and Writing in the Mathematical Classroom”, he points out that there are informal and formal writing activities. All of the writing activities fall under one of the two categories. Informal writing activities “use content as the main criterion for judgment of the paper. They are especially useful for helping students to understand material” (Freitag 19). Activities that are informal are graded and assessed based on the knowledge and deep understanding of the particular information. Some examples of informal writing that I am going to use in my classroom are free writing and journals. Every student will have a journal in which they will use to describe what techniques they used to solve the problems. They will be required to keep up the journal on each new concept...

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