Sunday, August 4, 2013


Understanding Mathematics
 
 Parents who endeavour to know if a school math program is
 
well planned should examine whether 6 areas are present.
 
These are;  high standards and strong support for students,
 
curriculum that is focused and coherent, teaching that
 
challenge and support students. Next would be learning with
 
understanding from prior knowledge, assessment for
 
students to find new information, and lastly technology like calculators and computers are
 
used to enhance learning.

The Math classroom should also have 6 components :

-          an environment that gives students an equal opportunity to learn

-          teaching that has a balance of both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency

-          ensures active student participation in problem solving, reasoning, communications, connections and representation

-          use of technology to improve understanding

-          emphasis on reasoning of math

Parents also need to know what it means to understand math in today’s classroom. Relational understanding means knowing what to do and why, while the opposite is instrumental understanding (just doing without understanding). Thus students who have proficiency in math would have mastery in 5 areas :

-          conceptual understanding : knowledge about the relationship between ideas in a topic.

-          Procedural fluency : able to use rules and procedures in carrying out math processes.

-          Strategic competence : able to use different methods to eventually solve a problem.

-          Adaptive reasoning : able to reflect, evaluate and adapt or use different methods.

-          Productive disposition : when solving a problem you should rely on a how to and applying your knowledge rather than a recall method of how you can solve it.

I trust these points in mind would make parents see Math in a different light.. Math is not to be approached through rote drilling and countless worksheets but with crystal clear thought and understanding.

By : Marina Ho Mee Lin
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