A few years ago, when I was struggling to be an effective math teacher, I heard myself say, "I'm not good at teaching math." When I stopped to think about that comment, I realized that even as a child, I had never said that I was good at math...ever. I had always "accepted" that my math skills were not high and I never remember questioning or attempted to change this.
I was then shocked when I asked my students about their ability in math and much to my dismay, some of those sweet little hands raised indicating they felt they were not "good at math." For a third grade student, (and know that I found this happens to children much younger as well), to tell me that they were not "good at math" was simply not acceptable.
It was then that I began working overtime, tapping into the exposure I had to some of the greatest master teachers in the field. From them, I learned many effective pieces regarding math instruction which I then combined with personal experiences and reliable research studies, to develop my own way of teaching math. This path has, ironically, has made me a significantly better mathematician than I have ever been...EVER!
As such, I will be sharing my tools of the trade with you so you can benefit from what I have learned and hopefully move you, your child, or your student to a different perception of math and ones ability to "do" it.
At the core of my instruction are three key factors that never change:
1 - Workbooks should only be used to support the real world.
2 - Always, always work backward from a real world "word problem" when teaching ANY concept.
3 - Teach formulas and rules for solving problems.
In my next post, I will begin to explain the specifics of each of these factors with the hope that it will help instructors, parents, and students alike to glide through math with a better understanding of what it is, how it works, and how to "do" math with greater success than before.
Talk soon -
I am a teacher at heart. The last few years have provided me with many unique academic experiences, most of which were due to the openness to share of many, many master teachers. I am simply a collection of many, looking to pass on the knowledge that was invested in me to others looking to do the same. We are all in this together!
tales from the instructional side