I designed my website to provide some personal insights about mathematics for those interested in studying or teaching mathematics. I have just started my page, but I will share related posts about mathematics from time to time. I am a mathematics educator by training, so I thought I would share a bit more about my philosophy in teaching mathematics.
I believe that one’s knowledge about and experience with student learning shapes their teaching. My experience taught me that students do not only learn by being told. In addition to verbal instruction, there should be opportunities for students to be actively involved in their learning processes to connect the new knowledge to their previous conceptions and beliefs.
I have always been an advocate of treating students as sense-makers rather than rememberers or forgetters (Lampert, 1986). I believe that, as an instructor, I need to be playing a role by emphasizing big ideas, and by mediating the contributions from my students. In my classrooms, I have always tried to have students think and then bring up their ideas about mathematical situations in the public forum of the classroom. I accomplish this through, as math educators Smith & Stein (2011) state, anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, connecting, and by facilitating a productive inquiry-oriented environment. Also, I provide technological advancements to enrich students learning environments. I have used the software before, including Mathematica, GeoGebra, etc.
Another aspect of teaching that I have always thought to be important is the students’ background. For instance, often in my classrooms, students are coming from underrepresented groups or having any disadvantages or disabilities. I have always helped them based on not only their mathematics levels but also their personal needs. I provide many learning opportunities for them to be engaged with the content and encouraged them to be part of the class. As an instructor, I see this as an obligation to myself.
My teaching and research experiences have molded my teaching style. I prepare my lesson plans based on how student learning occurs and consider what learning theories and research show about student learning. For instance, I enjoyed teaching elementary mathematics courses for pre-service teachers. I prepare these courses in a way that advances students’ understanding of big ideas in mathematics and promotes why mathematics operates as it does. I cover the material in various teaching methods, including hands-on activities, to advance prospective teachers’ skills on how the mathematics content can be effectively presented to young students coherently and logically. Furthermore, As Polya (1956) points out, to be able to understand mathematics is to be able to do mathematics, which requires solving mathematical problems. I believe that every teacher needs to be a good problem solver to be able to enlighten young brains and provide a future vision for students.
Overall, my academic background has a significant influence on my teaching approach, and I hope that my perspectives would be helpful for those interested in teaching mathematics. Please share your comments below or contact me if you would like to exchange ideas!