Sunday, 31 March 2013

reflections on chap 1 and 2

Reflection on Chapter 1 and 2

My own personal experience with the learning of Maths in primary school had been quite unpleasant – low grades in red marks was a  consistent feature  in my report card. My interest in Maths plummeted as I could not grasp the concepts which seem to be difficult. I struggled with problem solving and algebra. The turning point in my life was when I was in  lower secondary. I had a very good Maths teacher, Mrs Wong who helped  me see Maths in a new light. She helped me make connections between the mathematical concepts and daily life and that Maths can be fun! I can now understand  how important it is to have a good foundation in Maths.
In my opinion, I play an important role in the understanding of Maths for the children in my class. As a teacher, I shape their perception of Maths.   My own beliefs on what Maths is all about, how children learn Maths, how teachers teach Maths and  the relevant assessment methods affect their learning. I believe that Maths is an important life skill, helping children  at  problem solving and is  relevant to daily living.  In order to be an effective teacher of Maths, I must have the essential tools of my own knowledge of  Maths and how children learn Maths.

At the same time, I need to be familiar with the documents that influence state policy and teacher practice and curriculum guidelines to stay relevant in my profession. I believe that as a teacher of Maths, I must also  know the learning continuum for Maths and the focus at each level of a child’s learning. Making connections, an integral part of learning,  the linking of one idea to another helps children to remain focused in their learning. Each concept builds on another – pieces of a jigsaw equally important for the whole picture to be in place. My familiarity  with the Common Core standards for Maths and the Curriculum Framework is essential in charting the progress of  children in their understanding of Maths. Reading such material with understanding of how these pieces of information fit together to form a bigger picture of  things is crucial.

I believe that children must be given the opportunity and time to explore Maths, to identify patterns in their learning environment and solve problems. Experiential learning and personal reflection is an integral part of  building up of  Maths concepts. Letting children to struggle through their problems will help them to reflect what they know and how they can apply what they know. Helping children not to give up easily and to persevere can be unnerving.  Initially I found this to be quite a challenge as my first instinct would be to prompt the correct answer to the children. I have had to hold back, give the children time to reflect and think through.  I would  then step in  by asking questions, to help children  make connections with what they know-drawing from their earlier experiences. When I encourage children to make predictions, the children are involved in a higher level of thinking.