Sunday, September 22, 2013

An Introduction

One of the most common phrases related to mathematics and children would be, “It is too difficult or I don’t understand.” So why do children hate mathematics? The answer lies in the concept of learning and understanding. Most children have been taught to memorize or in fact follow the exact example of teachers that there is little or no room for children to formulate their own understanding or answers to the questions. What is mathematics? Just numbers? Or a list of formulas to memorize?

Mathematics is in fact an integration of all other disciplines. Mathematics is connected to the real world. Children should see that mathematics plays a significant role in art, science, language, arts and social studies. Children should be given hands on activities then daily quizzes. Exams and quizzes should be included but only as a form of assessment rather than a way of education. 

 So how can we ignite a passion for mathematics? First we can target the interest of 21st century children, for example, technology. If we can convey mathematical concepts into technology, that would be a wonderful way to invite children into the world of mathematical concepts. Once children are excited, the learning will take place naturally. Of course, one must not only rely on technology as there should be a variety in materials and means of teaching mathematics. The use of symbols,charts,graphs,manipulatives and diagrams are powerful methods of expressing mathematical ideas and relationships. Concrete materials such as, puzzles, number rods, dot grids and dominoes can be used to convey mathematical concepts . Children need to develop the habit of providing a rationale as an integral part of every answer. It is essential for children to learn the value of justifying ideas through logical argument. Learning to communicate in mathematics fosters interaction and exploration of ideas in the classroom as students learn through active discussions of their thinking. By providing them with the opportunities,materials and time, children will learn to love and understand mathematics and its wonders.

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