Saturday, 30 March 2013

Learning Math as a Student and Teaching Math as a Teacher

I have always had more interest in Math than in any other subjects. I recall learning about numerals, number bonds, graphs, fractions, patterning, algebra, addition and subtraction. I enjoyed counting, sorting, matching, measuring recognizing shapes, creating patterns, drawing diagrams, solving problem sums, calculating using calculators and comparing.  The only segment I do not like about Math is memorizing. Both my parents and teachers forced me into memorizing the times table. Memorizing the formulas and names of shapes were equally challenging for me as a student.
In my secondary school days, I performed extremely well for my E-maths. As a result, the Head of the Math department offered me to take up Additional Math. I was overjoyed indeed but it did not last for too long. I dropped the subject after half a year because of the teacher. She had her focus on students who were performing well and not me who was struggling to catch up as I joined in later. Without guidance and encouragement, I was not able to cope. So I dropped the subject. Nevertheless, my love for Math did not diminish. I practiced a lot and performed well for my E-maths.
These experiences have taught me a couple of things which as a teacher, I should not practice with my children at any point of time: 1) to make my children memorize and 2), to criticize and label them for their weaknesses. Through my experience with compassionate Math teachers,  from learning more during the three year diploma course,  and from observing and analyzing how children learn Math best, I have learnt  ways to develop love for Math amongst the preschoolers at my centre.

According to me, Math is never too difficult to learn or teach as long as you have the guidance, persevearence and a positive attitude to do so.

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