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Statement of Faith Based Learning

Math is a series of problems, equations, and algorithms. From an outsider’s perspective,

it seems that math has nothing to do with God’s world or his plan, because no mathematical

statement is based on faith. We can’t have faith that 2 + 4 = 6, we need the proper tools to prove

that 2 + 4 = 6 with tangible evidence that we can see. We must show our work, explain the

various steps we took to get to that point, and defend our answer with concrete material. How

can math be comparable to faith when both subjects appear to be on opposite sides of the

spectrum?

I think in a worldview lens, these subjects can be quite closely related. Cameron (2009)

states, “Equations are like miracles. You take two numbers and when you add them they

magically become one new number. No one can say how it happens. You either believe it or you

don’t. The whole book is full of things that have to be accepted on faith. It’s a religion!”. I never

thought about a subject such as math in this manner before. Although there is proof that 2 + 4 =

6, who created the equation that proved this in the first place? How do we truly know that the

answer is 6, and who put these guidelines in place for us to follow? Is it all just made up, or can

we base our entire lives off of the fact that 2 + 4 = 6 even if we aren’t quite sure?

I think that in the classroom, math is something that you have to work at. It is a constant

process, just like faith. My students will be learning place values of decimals, and in order to do

this, they need to have a basis of numbers, and where they belong individually. Math is like faith,

because each time you think you fully understand something, there is a new concept that must be

learned and mastered. When we think of God and how his world works, we know that we will

never truly comprehend this matter. Math and faith walk hand in hand in the world of the
unknown. They are infinite themes of thought that no matter how hard one tries to fathom the

end result, it’s simply impossible.

This worldview of math deeply affects my content, because although I may not teach

what I have said above to my students in the public setting, I will understand the reasoning

behind why I do what I do in my pedagogical choices, and take a stand for my curriculum. I

could contend that I will attempt to stay neutral on religious ground, but neutrality in the

classroom never works. Students may see my biased opinion of religion, and be persuaded to my

side, or take a step back and walk away from religion altogether (Stronks & Stronks, 1999).

Stronks & Stronks (1999) argue that, “Value neutrality does not exist because people are not

objective”. My religious stance in the math curriculum may further deter students from faith, and

this is not what I desire for my worldview nor my pedagogical practices.

Even though faith may not be an explicit part of my classroom, and I may not be able to

express clear cut bible references, I hope my students will be able to see how their own lives

relate to the subject of math. I want them to make connections as to how math can be applicable

to anything in their lives, even religion (if they are religious). Many people do not see the

importance of math, because their teachers have not made it relevant to their personal lives. They

are taught the lessons, taught how to solve them, with no link to how the students can relate to

them. If there is no affiliation, there is no long-term source that keeps them interested in the

content, so math ceases to be crucial.

I want my students to understand how the processes behind math are valuable and can be

applied in real-life situations. They will uncover that what they are learning during their 5th grade

math class may be necessary for their future careers. For example, accountants use money and

decimals to balance budgets, architects utilize geometric figures and lengths to construct
buildings and houses, even sports announcers work with mathematical concepts to calculate

batting averages and player statistics live on air. My pedagogical approach is to show students

that math has value, and provide them with similar examples as seen above to help them fully

understand why math is crucial, even at a young age.

There will always be more foundations to build upon and learn about, so my students’

journey with math will never truly end, even as they move on from their educational lives and go

into adulthood. My job as their teacher is to help them understand mathematical concepts, such

as place value and decimals, and provide them with the necessary resources to continue moving

in the right direction. I will accept my students’ worldviews if I wish for them to accept my own.

I can’t push my faith, or judge my students for believing in God or not. The Bible states, “I will

instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on

you” (Psalm 32:8 New International Version). God will show me how I can be the best teacher

for my students. I believe he will guide me in the process of how I can love and care for them

without forcing my faith upon them. God will work in the lives of my students when it is

according to his plan, not my own. He will continue being a light in my life to help me expand

my worldview and pedagogical teachings, and ensure that my classroom remains a place of

acceptance and safety for all students who want to pursue their education and personal

achievement.
Resources

Cameron, P. (2009, December 21). Mathematics and Religion?. Retrieved October 6, 2018.

Stronks, J., & Stronks, G. (1999). Christian teachers in public schools. Grand Rapids: Baker.