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Math Teaching Philosophy

I believe teaching mathematics to elementary students is critical for establishing a


foundation of success in mathematics. There is a need for some basic memorization of
facts, because I believe students who do not memorize arithmetic functions struggle in
upper levels of mathematics. However, I believe learning mathematics can be fun,
interesting, and beneficial. Instead of just using worksheets or completing problems on
the board, teachers should integrate technology and hands-on activities in the curriculum
and allow students to work with others in the class to gain new perspectives.
Students enter the classroom with various learning styles, family backgrounds,
attitudes, and conceptions. Just as each child has diverse talents and abilities, each child
also has his/her own ways in which grasping and understanding concepts becomes easier.
For example, some children are visual learners; learning is easier for the children when
there are visual implements or illustrations. Other children learn best by listening. Some
children dont have any one method that consistently assists them in every situation; a
combination of tactics works best. Some students also enter the classroom thinking they
cannot make mistakes, and some teachers enter the classroom thinking they should not
point out students mistakes. Although, according to Bray (2007), research suggests that
focusing on student errors can lead to increased student engagement among struggling
learners. I plan to be a teacher that allows students to learn from their mistakes to
discuss and promote the error to promote conceptual understanding.
As a math teacher, I think technology and computers would play an important part
of mathematics curriculum. Computers are an excellent visualization tool, which could
benefit all sorts of learners. With websites resources, students can actually see, what they

are discussing. Computers allow visual representations that are impossible to show with
pen and paper or by simply using a whiteboard. Computers have students not only look at
them but also manipulate them. Technology makes it easier for students to understand the
concepts. Computers are also a motivation for students because they are colorful and
exciting for them. Many students love getting on the computer and also have fun with the
game type atmosphere. I think it might make students more excited about mathematics
and in return engage the students. As for teaching mathematics, technology and
computers provide an efficient way and variety of learning.
In the early grades, concrete manipulatives, such as geo-boards or pattern blocks
often provide visual and experimental supports for children. When lower graders learn a
mathematical concept, they typically need objects to let them see with their eyes and
manipulate with their hands. In higher grades, many mathematical concepts just do not
have such physical models. Computers can provide interactive virtual manipulatives.
These advance tools help students by supporting computation and by giving abstract
ideas a more tangible form. In sum, different tools have their values. It depends on how it
is used. If physical or electronic manipulatives are well designed and well used, they can
increase the variety of problems that students can think about and solve.
I believe integrating technology into the classroom can improve mathematics
teaching, especially with the changing generations. In higher grades, teachers can focus
less on memorizing facts and performing routine calculations and more on developing
ideas, exploring consequences, justifying solutions, and understanding connections. In
addition, teachers can give efficient and professional teaching through the use of
technology.

I believe teachers are responsible for making students feel comfortable to ask
question in class and seek help when needed. We should act as a parent, coach, counselor,
advisor, and friend to our students in the classroom. As a math teacher, I plan to listen to
my students; show multiply ways to solve a problem; and I believe all students can
succeed in mathematics. I truly believe establishing a rich whole-class discussion is a
very important factor in teaching mathematics. I think a problem can arise when a teacher
ignores students invented strategies, and solely sticks to a standard algorithm. According
to the Launching Complex Tasks article, teachers often suggest particular solution
methods to get students started. Such explicit suggestions usually cause students to solve
the task in the same way, which lessens the chance that a rich concluding whole-class
discussion will occur (pg. 26, 2012). Mathematics opens students mind up to a variety of
strategies, which should not be put down, instead shared!
In addition, it is important for students be placed in situations in which they must
apply what they are learning to personal experiences and situations. As a future math
teacher, we need to teach mathematics for understanding. We need to incorporate
everyday life experiences into the mathematics classroom. This helps reinforce math
concepts and moves them to a level of true understanding of mathematics. However,
when we define what it means to learn and truly understand mathematics, we must be
careful. Many students may say they have learned to do mathematics, but really they
have learned an algorithm and quite possibly may have no idea why they are utilizing that
particular algorithm. Therefore, students need to be questioned to make sure they
understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. But what does mathematical
understanding look like? I believe students have a conceptual understanding of

mathematics when they gain the ability to justify why a particular mathematical statement
is true or where a mathematical rule comes from. There is a world of difference between
a student who can complete a math problem and a student who can explain where the
answer came from.

Works Cited
Bray, Wendy S. 2007. A Study of Teacher Transitions to a Reform-Based
Mathematics Curriculum in an Urban School: The interaction of Beliefs, Knowledge, and
Classroom Practices. PhD diss. Dissertation Abstracts International 68(11).
Jackson,K.,Shahan,E.,Gibbons,L.,&Cobb,P.(2012).LaunchingComplex
Tasks.MathematicsTeachingintheMiddleSchool,18(1).