The beginning has begun; learning to teach future learners. In mathematics, when you learn something new it mostly like will be used to build of something else you're going to use in the future. Some of the first and most basic concepts you learn are used repeatedly throughout your career as student, such as fractions, addition, equations, linear functions and so on. As you use these things over the years, for some people, it starts to become second nature, something you don't really have to think about. When you're put in a situation where you have to think about your thinking, those second nature concepts become almost a challenge. You've been doing it for so long, it's not something you think about anymore. I am currently enrolled in Math 229, which is teaching middle grades math and I am also an SLA facilitator for Math 097, which is elementary algebra. I am also in three hundred level courses and yet I am being challenged equally by a 300 level course as a 097 and 229 course. How is that possible? Thinking about your thinking is difficult! Both 229 & 097 have forced me to think back to those surface level concepts and process how I solve those problems. Then on top of that, forcing myself to think about different ways to solve the problems and not just my "go to thinking." Why is that so important? Why do I need to know different ways to solve a problem and fully understand why I may solve a problem a certain way? I've already learned so much being an SLA facilitator and if one thing is true, it's that students need to be engaged for them to fully understand the concepts. The surface level concepts that are so crucial to the rest of the semester need to be taught and learned really well. This means that you can't move on to the bigger concepts until the class has mastered those first basic concepts. I've realized in Math 229 the importance of being able to explain things in many different ways. There are so many different kinds of learners and if you're teaching in one way, you might not reach half the class and therefore they may not be engaged in your teaching. For example, I could've sat through the same math classes for 6 years as Sue. Those concepts we learned became second nature to me because all our teachers gave lots of practice problems and that's how I learn best. Those same concepts are not second nature to Sally because she is a visual learner and needs thing to be applied to the real world in order for her to fully understand. Being engaged makes a difference in what you learn. As you can see, learning to teach to your audience is a big concept to grasp. In closing, how do you teach those crucial topics to students, keep them engaged in your instruction, and make sure your using many different methods in teaching it? A good question that I am still learning the answer too. I think it starts with establishing a teaching style, but being flexible enough to understand that it may change every year, or even every month. I have a youtube video below that discusses the importance of keeping students engaged and few ideas on how to do that. It's interesting to think that just changing a story problem to a topic that interests the class could change how much they're engaged in the concept your teaching.
5 Comments
9/10/2016 11:06:11 am
Hey, you wrote before I could write back to you! This is very appropriate.
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The Brian
9/13/2016 05:42:34 pm
I think you did a good job of explaining the importance of different teaching styles. I liked your idea of showing how two different students, Sue and Sally, view the learning process, but how you worded it was confusing. I also like hoe you were able to bring in your experiences outside of this class. Sometimes it can be hard to see how things apply, and examples always help.
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Tanner Rubin
9/13/2016 08:25:39 pm
Very nice work! I really enjoyed your thoughts on challenging the way we think. There are so many things that we do without thinking, but by actually breaking down what steps we are taking to get there, many times we will better remember the concepts. You covered this well. After establishing that students process through things differently, you offer a solution of how to teach this well based on your learning in MTH 229, MTH 097, and your current thoughts. Well organized & well done!
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Kelsey York
9/14/2016 06:26:32 am
I really liked that you talked about specific examples regarding how students learn differently. I think learning styles is one thing that teachers have a hard time focusing on, and that causes certain students to fall behind or not understand the material. It was also very evident while reading this, what your stance is, and I think you did a great job of incorporating your own personal experiences into this blog as a way of backing your statement. Overall, it was very interesting to read, your thoughts were very organized, and I think you did a great job!
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Kati Bayer
9/19/2016 05:21:11 am
Lauren, I really like how you started out; you do a good of catching your audiences' attention by using an idea that most of us (especially in this class) can relate to. And what a great thing to think about! It is so challgening to think about the concepts we learned early on in math that explain why we can do the things we do when solving problems. It will be equally important to explain those concepts to our students. I also totally agree with you when you say being able to solve and explain things in multiple ways is so important. You really make it clear that being able to be a flexible teacher is key. Finally, I want to say that you did such a good job of incorporating your experiences in and outside of class into your discussion. Thanks for sharing!
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AuthorLauren C. Grimes Archives
November 2017
