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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Challenges as a Math teacher

What according to you is a greatest challenge faced by you as a Math teacher?

Taleese Walsh said...
It's funny, I've been thinking about this very question this month, as I've been preparing for my first workshop for pre-service math teachers. As a 6th grade math teacher, I believe my biggest challenge is to overcome built up fears, inhibitions, and an "I'm not good at math" attitude, prevalent especially in students who have failed to succeed in math so far. How do you take a failing student or a just getting by student and turn them into a math believer and a math achiever?

I think...
Yes, fear for learning Math is a challenge for contemporary Math educators to deal tactfully in a classroom. The strategy which I am using to deal with poor performers is using a selective study approach and appreciating even small things which these students are able to do. Then in the end of the say saying aloud "YES I CAN DO MATH" .It enhances their motivation level and keep the working with higher spirits than developing a fear.

Thaddeus Wert said...
For me, it is taking a story problem (hopefully a real-world situation), teaching my students how to develop an appropriate mathematical model of the situation, and then solving it. If a student is faced with a paragraph of information, then she often just shuts down, even if the problem is relatively easy.

Danny Clarke said...
Overcoming the "I hate math" attitude. Students do not realize how much this attitude cripples their ability to learn math.

Maria D said...
Lack of math in the culture surrounding us. Basically, you can't learn math as your "first language" if parents don't "speak" it. I am working on changing that, but it's slow going. This year is slightly better, because social media crossed the next adoption threshold and is mainstream now.

Crolyn said...
Attitude! Administrators are not embarrassed to say that they are not good at math, and excuse a lack of effort on the part of students. Math is not a priority, but art and music and sports are.

My impression of many elementary teachers is that they went into teaching because they want to work with young children and to help them learn to read, but when it comes to math, they share their phobias and dislike of the subject. Parents also echo the sentiment. Until something changes, it will be an uphill battle!

Steven Hsia said...
The over-dependency on calculators. While technology is nice, but the over-dependency on calculators drowns out the basic knowledge needed by my students. For most of them, single digit multiplication and their respective division problems takes 10 seconds without a calculator. Addition and subtraction takes forever without a calculator. I tried to form a competitive math team last year, but I felt dismayed watching calculus students unable to add 1/4 + 1/3. (They thought the answer was 1/7. And this was more than 1 calculus student.) While calculators provide a definitive answer, this answer can be wrong if the user is not careful. The over-dependency on calculators have erroneously eliminated the need for students to step back and think about whether their solution is correct or not. Once they are set on their thinking on how to solve a problem, if they get an answer from the calculator, they will assume it is correct even when the answer defies a logical sense. This over-dependency is mind-boggling.

I think...
Hmmm, this is really scary. Mathematical skills need to be learnt by writing and understanding of algorithms is essential. Use of calculators and other technology tools may be used for analysing situations like graphical analysis. Especially at primary and secondary level , children should not use calculators . You see, software developers are good in designing softwares because of the understanding of logic and algorithm of making it. All that need is deep knowledge of concept. So, I agree to you that over dependency on technology is a challenge for Math teachers.

Danny Clarke said...
I agree. Especially at the college freshman level, so many texts include sections on how to solve problems using the calculator. Of course, this is no help in solving applications (word problems), yet I still get students challenging the score they get on exams by saying, "It can't be wrong, I used the calculator!"

Cristy said...
My biggest challenge: teaching to so many different levels of intelligence in one classroom. I have over-achievers, B/C students, F students, students who don't care, and mentally retarded students ALL IN ONE CLASS.

I think...
Catering to needs of variety of learners is indeed the biggest challenge. A classroom is a blend of all types of students. A teacher has to maintain a balance to keep up all working. The strategy which I am using is giving specially prepared worsheets/assignments according to individual needs of learners. Also , different methods are used like chalk/talk , using multimedia , hands on etc which help in inculcating interest in the subject .

Michael said...
The challenge of teaching math is, IMHO, to study it in order to use it. Exactly as every craft.
In "our" time, that is in 50-s 60-s we didn`t think about our attitude to math - we simple learned it. Modern habit of continuous self - psychoanalysis instead of doing breaks the integrity of world view.
That is my starting point while thinking about the problem. I`m very interested in comment from Maria D. - is it the point?

PendeM.Venket.Kumar said...
hi ......as i know..maths cannot be enjoyed unless a student doesn't know the essence of learning it...what is the need ,application and outcomes.....i start teaching particular topic with the related examples in real life situations which enable the students to understand the real need of learning it.......that may diffuse fear of learning,hatred etc....

Monika Hardy suggested...
This is where tech does come in nicely. With the web - we should be able to cater to every differentiation needed in the classroom.. if we can come to grips with how messy that feels and appears.
Interactive and student made tutorials, small groups who need face-to-face - again led by peers, global groupings formed per passion with peers/college students/professionals, .... every kid can/should get one form of an expert individual tutor, so that they are reeling in constant personal feedback/encouragement.

Dr.Pragati said...
To reduce "Math Phobia" among students is the greatest challenge for Math Teachers. It is generally believed that math is dry and abstract subject. We people are trying to overcome this mentality at our level best. But it is rather difficult to teach each and every topic with the real-world situations like the topics of Abstract Algebra. Many students think that little mathematical knowledge is sufficient to enter into different careers. They don't know the wide applications of it.

Kari said...
Having the time to individually meet each students needs. Classes tend to be a "one-size fits all" because of size, differing abilities, and time constraints. I am unable to reach every student.

Whit Ford said...
To walk into every teaching opportunity with enthusiasm, a visible passion for the subject, an obvious intention to confer your passion to your students, respect for the students interests and talents, and ideas for conveying the day's material in a way that engages the students' interest: Why will this be important in your life? How is this topic connected to what students already know? Where will they need this topic in the future? What kinds of real world problems does this topic relate to, and how? How many different ways can we solve this problem? Can it be solved in a visual/intuitive way as well as in a procedural (algebraic) way?

All of the above is much easier to do for the first class of the day than for the last one...

Erlina said...
I think the challenge to us teachers relies not on how we can make math easy to learn but on how we can make our students love the challenge that mathematics presents.

2 comments:

puja sehgal said...

iliked the way it is presented

Richmond Botwey said...

one of the greatest challenge is students failing to apply concepts in a particular to a new topic

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