Our incredible math lecturer asked us to reflect on our six days of learning. Let me begin by saying that this module, till now, is the most mentally exhausting but extremely enlightening one for me and of course I have learnt so many big ideas such as looking at patterns and grouping etc. Other than this, I have also learnt about how I can help children in learning mathematics so that they can understand and enjoy this subject.
1. Mathematical ideas that I was supported in discovering on my own:
The pattern of numbers in my name in finding the 99th letter, learning about fraction by manipulating the pattern block and so much more. I’ve learnt and remembered a lot during the past six days mainly because I have to evaluate my own ideas about mathematics. We were encouraged to search for different ways of thinking and problem solving, moreover, we were given opportunities to talk about our thinking. We were like ‘children’ in the classroom, learning about how children learn mathematics. And I now know that part of our job as a teacher is to help children make sense of what they are doing in mathematics.
2. The Importance of Rich and Rewarding Mathematic Environment
Every lesson in this module began with a problem that was not so tedious (considering that we are now pursuing our degrees) but got us thinking hard. I like to work near people but be able to move at my own pace. When I feel satisfied in my own mathematical exploration, I don't care whether I am ahead of or behind those around me. I don't want to be told how to do it, I want to find it on my own. This is something I have to teach my children as well. There is the problem on fraction which I only can manage to understand when I got home. I find that some adults and children are hard on themselves when they make mistakes or they can’t get the answers. I think it is vital that as teacher, I have to provide a supportive math environment so that children would have no time berating themselves but to put their attention on enjoying learning math. It is really hard to continue doing math when one is feeling stupid and left behind.
What do you think of using interactive whiteboards for teaching math? I have the concern that having these whiteboards makes the classroom more teachers centred and less children involvement. Such as the video you have shown us during the first few lessons. When the children are using manipulative and even pencil and paper tasks, they appear to have talk and discussion among themselves. But they are all focused and quiet when the teacher is teaching through the interactive whiteboard.