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Mathematics “Creed” and Beliefs January 21, 2014

Posted by jennienorgaard in EMTH 350.
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Mathematical beliefs to me are strongly influenced by everyone’s different math experiences, which in turn affect our teaching practices. The beliefs that a person has on mathematics will ultimately have an impact on how they teach the subject. The article Why Teachers Matter by Goos talks about how “mathematics is a tool for thinking with, a unique and concise language, a way of investigating patterns and relationships, a part of our everyday lives.” (p.13) This quote can relate with what I learned in EMTH 200 with Rick and the idea that Mathematics is the vehicle to develop the mind. The article states that “our task as mathematics teachers is to help students make sense of this world and their experiences in it, in ways that engage them with powerful mathematical ideas and leave them feeling confident about their ability to learn.” (p.13) Therefore, it is important to understand how to properly do mathematics and not just know how to come up with the final answer. From the textbook, Raymond’s model of the relationships between teachers’ mathematical beliefs and their teaching practice state that teacher education program, past school experiences, and early family experiences all indeed have an impact on our mathematical beliefs and teaching practices. So in the end, how we decide to go about teaching the material is ultimately up us and what our mathematical beliefs are.

I believe that in order to understand mathematics you need to know more than just simply being able to come up with the correct solutions to different problems. Mathematics involves understanding all the different concepts, knowing the importance of why you are doing a problem and being able to explain how you got to your solution. It is one thing to come up with an answer by using a formula and another thing to actually be able to explain the process and thinking involved with coming up with that answer. Essentially everyone can do mathematics if they know the different formulas that they can use and just plug in the numbers but it is another thing to understand how to actually do the problem. It is important to realize how to do something, recognize if the answer is reasonable and then being able to transfer this knowledge to real life situations. Being able to bring mathematics into real life perspectives makes it easier to understand, more enjoyable and easier to relate to different things/ideas. From this, I believe that mathematics is an important and essential aspect to our every day lives.

Since we see mathematics everywhere I think it is important that teachers are passionate and actually care about what they teach. This way the students they teach can learn to understand the importance behind mathematics. If teachers are not passionate about what they teach, then students will hate doing mathematics as well. Therefore, teachers need to set a good example for their students. In order to do this, I think it is essential to utilize all the different teaching strategies that are out there. I mean they are out there for a reason so why not take advantage of them especially since everyone learns differently in their own unique way. I believe that if we can show our students how important mathematics is not only in school but how it also relates to many things in life then maybe they will learn to appreciate it!

Like I have said before, mathematics is important to learn because it is involved in our every day lives. We need to understand mathematics in order to develop our mind. I think we need to learn how to teach mathematics at different levels starting with helping students understand how to improve their thinking. When students begin to develop their minds in an through mathematics they start to develop a deeper meaning for it. From these deeper meanings they can start to understand the importance behind math, learn how to do it properly, and not always rely on the different formulas there are out there to help them get the ‘correct answer’. What good is the correct answer if you don’t understand the importance of how you got there, the necessary steps needed to get there and if you don’t know how to explain how you got to the final answer?

Therefore, the five ‘creeds’ I have created for mathematics are:

1) I believe that in order to understand mathematics you need to know more than just simply being able to come up with the correct solutions to different problems.

2) I believe that mathematics is an important and essential aspect to our every day lives.

3) I believe that mathematics teachers should be passionate and actually care about what they teach.

4) I believe it is very beneficial to utilize all the different teaching strategies into all of our teachings.

5) I believe that if we can show our students how important mathematics is not only in school but how it also relates to many things in life then maybe they will learn to appreciate it!

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