Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekly 7: My Vision for the Future/Second Book

Before my career begins as a teacher, I am filled with a mountain of dos and don'ts.  We study all the time of what a good teacher looks like, what type of qualities we should have, and how we should treat all of our students.  It is easy for there to be an overwhelming feeling of pressure for pre-service teachers.  What if I am not all those things?  Can I really be "perfect"?  The answer to these questions comes with prioritizing.  You can successfully choose different topics to focus on and slowly improve your teaching style.  Your career as a teacher should be dynamic and always improving.  We must learn to adapt our personal style to the group of students we have been given: hour by hour, grade by grade and year by year.

Throughout this course, I have learned how to appropriately educate all students.  Our semester has been filled with different levels of education majors and just strictly math majors.  There is a way to satisfy all of our thirsts for knowledge.  As an educator, it is important to build off of student interest.  When students are presented with choice and topics that spark their interest, then engagement will come automatically.  This aspect of learning needs to be acknowledged and emphasized.  When students care about learning then they will assume responsibility and be in charge of their own learning experience. When we have students driving their own learning, we have found success.

Book #1
I have read two books that enhance my knowledge about the mathematical journey for all students.  There are messages for teachers of all levels to follow.  Regardless of what grade you teach, the fundamentals stay the same, in my opinion.  The lessons that I learned from this book apply to all areas and levels of mathematics.  It is important to understand how to approach the subject to spark student interest and maintain engagement.

Here is my reflection and interpretation of the ideas presented in this piece.

Book #2
This book emphasized that the world is constantly changing.  Everything about it experiences some type of alteration with time.  Education is not different.  When it comes to math education, teachers must stay one step ahead.  We need to freshen up on our approaches, techniques, and lessons.  The one key idea that needs to remain the same is that we need to teach with understanding.  Some of the key ideas are:

  • Different skills will be needed to support all types of students.  
  • For any topic, the teaching demands flexible approaches for defining and solving problems.  
  • Learning things with understanding can be used flexibly, adapted to new situations, and used to learn new things.
The learning experience needs to be fostered from many different angles.  This means that from a teaching standpoint, we have a lot of responsibility.  We have to understand the subject area as well as the troubles students might encounter and how to rebuild understanding.  I picture understanding the material is like climbing steps.  You have to climb the first step before the second and the second before the third.  Understanding is step one to the learning process and it is arguably the most important.

Another important topic that is presented in this piece are the five dimensions that shape learning experiences:

  1. Nature of learning tasks.
  2. The role of the teacher.
  3. The social culture of the classroom
  4. The kind of mathematical tools that are available.
  5. The accessibility of mathematics for every student. 
Each of these aspects needs to be considered and be approached very delicately.  These are the five most important dimensions that basically define student learning.  The book goes into more detail about each, but I think that the interpretation goes beyond the textbook definition.  Each of these pieces have room for your own personal twist.  There is a way to personalize each one so that it works for your own teaching style.  For example, the social nature of the classroom will be varying from year to year and only you will know the dynamics of your classroom.  You are the only one with the knowledge of your students, just you. So, this list is universal, but changing from teacher to teacher.  

I would love to read the rest of this book in detail.  It seemed to really dive into a new understanding of how we must approach mathematics with students.  As intimidating as it may seem, teaching mathematics the right way can provide a beautiful experience for all.  It may take a "special" person to take on this task, but the world is full of special people, destined to do great things.  

1 comment:

  1. The people who wrote the second really understand math teaching and learning on a fundamental level. Good researchers and curriculum writers.

    I liked connecting the two reviews and thinking about where you are. 5Cs+