When teachers stand up at the chalk board and are attempting to convey
math problems to a class room full of 20-30 students, although the
teacher gets what is going on you can guarantee that a good part of
the class is not even listening. For starters math is boring to most
and when students hear the teacher mention math their brain goes into
an immediate shut down mode. Factor in other issues such as: the class
right before lunch where you have a classroom full of kids who are
watching every second tick by so they can eat. Those students are
at a definite disadvantage to begin with. It is very important, especially
in the introductory stages of math that teachers learn to be more
"hands on." They need to develop a very powerful approach, one that
is interesting and fun, one that the students enjoy and look forward
It is unlikely that students are going to walk away with the knowledge
that they need for future math success simply by an instructor standing
at the board and speaking. That is not going to fly when it comes
to math. The "hands on" approach involves students in really doing
mathematics - experimenting first-hand with physical objects in the
environment and having concrete experience before learning abstract
mathematical concepts. Students, in order to be successful, must focus
on the core concepts and critical thinking processes needed for students
to create and re-create mathematical concepts and relationships in
their own minds.
Teachers must begin to select mathematical tasks that engage students'
interests and intellect and providing opportunities to deepen their
understanding of the mathematics being studied and its applications.
They also must develop classroom teachings that promote investigation
and growth in mathematical ideas while using and teaching students
to use technology and other tools to pursue mathematical investigations.
Instructors must help students seek connections to previous and developing
knowledge and also guide individual, small-group, and whole-class
work. Knowing mathematics means being able to use it in purposeful
ways. To learn mathematics, students must be involved in exploring
and thinking rather than only in rote learning of rules and procedures.
Mathematics learning is not a spectator sport but it is a concept
that requires "hands on" teaching where experience enables students
are able to construct personal knowledge derived from meaningful experiences.
Only then will students be able to retain and use what they have learned.
Teachers must learn a new role to offer students the help that makes
sense of mathematics and allows them to use it as a tool for reasoning
and problem solving.
It is now left up to teachers and educators to redefine the meaning
of thinking mathematically. Learning more advanced math isn't possible
without first mastering traditional pencil-and-paper arithmetic. Then
each student must always "work collaboratively" with other students
in a small group, this helps to prepare kids for the way teams function
in modern business. Students should be encouraged to practice the
ongoing use of hands-on tools such as various models and calculators.
The goal is to achieve a complete understanding rather than memorization.
Teachers must be ready and equipped to prepare and deliver instruction
using new approaches which include technology, and hands-on and collaborative
teaching. Enabling students to benefit from available tools goes beyond
the availability of technology in school systems. Hands-on training
is critical to teachers' willingness to implement new instructional
practices into the classroom. Theory based teaching typically results
in little skills and negligible transfer to classroom practice thus
limiting successful learning. This must lead to a level of comfort
in using hardware and software systems, which enables the teachers
to utilize the technology integrated within the scope of the curriculum
and subject matter they are teaching, and to be able to make decisions
for varying situations.