**Chapter ONE**

*MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS to be an EFFECTIVE TEACHER of MATHEMATICS! *

** My knowledge of mathematics *

** How children learn mathematics*

Our classrooms
are becoming increasingly diverse, with children from different ethnic and
cultural backgrounds coming together, the inclusion of children with special
learning needs, etc. In addition, children also have different learning styles.

A teacher’s job
is not an easy one. To be effective, we must provide an array of learning
experiences and address the diverse learning abilities and styles of the
children in class. The teaching of mathematics and any other subject for that
matter needs to be differentiated so that children can acquire mathematical
knowledge in their own unique ways.

Personally, I feel
that it is imperative that teachers reflect a lot more on classroom practices.
We need to constantly ask ourselves if we are providing enough, teaching
appropriately, catering to the different developmental levels and learning
styles, etc.

**Knowledge gained from research**

**+**

**Leadership of the NCTM**

**+**

**Public and political pressure**

**has led to **

**STEADY CHANGES **

**in the way mathematics is being taught in the US**

These changes were initiated because US students had been underperforming in national and international studies as compared to students from Asia, notably.

__The revised NCTM principles and standards__

These principles and
standards act as a guide and were developed to improve mathematics education in
the US. They provide educators with learning goals for students from pre-K
through grade 12, serve as a resource for teachers to improve instruction, and
help guide the curriculum.

__NCTM Principles __

* Equity

* Curriculum

* Teaching

* Learning

* Assessment

* Technology

These principles reflect basic perspectives on which mathematics educators should base their decisions. They underline the foundation for mathematics programs by considering the broad issues of equity, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment and technology.

**What struck me most - The Teaching Principle**

Effective mathematics teaching requires
understanding what students know and need to learn and then challenging and
supporting them to learn it well. (NCTM, 2000, p.16)

I believe that as an
educator, I need to plan developmentally appropriate lessons and constantly
assess progress and identify areas for improvement. Learning should be
maximized for each child within his or her own ‘zone of proximal development’
(Vygotsky, 1978).

I also feel that It
is important to keep abreast of current knowledge, constantly learn, practise
and reflect in order to teach more effectively.

__NCTM Content Standards__

*** Number and operations**

*** Algebra**

*** Geometry**

*** Measurement**

*** Data analysis and probability**

These outline the specific mathematics
concepts for each grade level.

An outline is an important guide to rely on however a teacher's responsibility especially in the kindergarten classroom, is to capitalize on play and everyday activities to promote learning.

Concepts should be taught in an experiential way. Children should be allowed many opportunities to explore and build their knowledge through concrete manipulations. This brings me back to the basic principles of HOW we teach. The teacher's mindset and attitude makes a world of difference to how much and how well a child learns.

__NCTM Process Standards__

*** Problem solving**

*** Reasoning and proof**

*** Communication**

*** Connections**

*** Representation**

These process standards help teachers to make
informed instructional and curricular decisions when teaching mathematics.

Apart from planning appropriate lessons and creating a supportive environment with meaningful interactive mathematical activities, teachers can help to build process skills by asking questions that would help children to make sense of what they are doing.

We can ask questions like..

Why did you do that?

What would you do if....?

How could you show....?