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METHODS AND APPROACHES OF TEACHING MATHEMATICS

BY GERTRUDE NAMUBIRU

(CURRICULUM SPECIALIST MATHEMATICS AT NCDC)

SEPTEMBER 2013
BACKGROUND

MATHEMATICS CURRICULUM

The primary curriculum was reviewed and brought on board


competence based teaching, learning and assessment. The
review recommended changes in the arrangement and
delivery of content among other things. Some methods to be
used in teaching were also identified.

In the Mathematics curriculum the work covered in a current


class builds on what is already covered in previous classes.

In the curriculum under each topic there is a learning


outcome as a teacher you should reflect on this all the time
as you teach because you aim at bringing this out.

There are language and subject competences, it is expected


that in every lesson your aim is to build the competence of
every child in the areas identified in the curriculum.
However, learners are individuals so cannot become
competent at the same time therefore, should not be rushed.
You should aim at making each individual competent so
avoid using words children cannot understand.

Skills have been identified in all topics you should aim at


developing these skills by seeing to it that life skill
indicators are looked at. Use materials which can develop
life skills and competencies of learners.

In the curriculum topics are consistently presented, so


develop these topics consistently and make sure learners
understand the concepts. Derive examples from learners’
experiences and make explanations clear. Make the
teaching as practical as possible.

There are some methods teachers’ notes and assessment


competences identified in the curriculum. Those are just
suggested methods and assessment competences you are
free to add on more but not to subtract. Take time to read
and understand the teachers’ notes and the background or
introductory message given at the beginning of each topic.

BACKGROUND TO THE SUBJECT

Children are naturally excited and interested in mathematics


in the first three years of school research has shown.
However, many educational studies carried out in the
country indicate that children still have the inability in
numeracy. Recommendations have been made to see to it
that the subject improves.

Despite the recommendations, Mathematics is still poorly


done leading to low marks at PLE.
The poor performance at PLE does not emanate from
primary seven teaching; this is a track record right from
primary one.

Children come to school with differences in background


knowledge, confidence, and ability to stay on task.
Mathematics being a compulsory subject, access to quality
mathematics is every child’s right. Therefore different
methods must be employed to teach different categories of
learners. And it is upon you teachers to provide enjoyable,
important and meaningful mathematics which engage every
child in class. A good learning environment invites
participation, engage learners and offer a sense of success.

Importance of mathematics

 Mathematics is important to in all our daily activities; in


homes, hospitals, schools, the list is endless.
 It is important in developing logical and numerical skills
of learners.
 It helps learners in exploring and manipulating real life
situations.
 It helps to develop manipulative and problem solving
skills.

WITH ALL THOSE IMPORTANCES, WHY DO YOU THINK


LEARNERS CONTINUE TO FAIL MATHEMATICS / WHERE IS
THE PROBLEM?

 Negative attitude towards mathematics


 Teachers’ failure to give proper and simple explanations
of mathematics terms.
 Fear due to pressure from friends that mathematics is
hard.
 Limited or lack of materials for all learners.
 Teachers’ lack of preparation beforehand.

HOW CAN WE HELP THE LEARNERS IMPROVE?

By knowing that children learn mathematics primarily


through a combination of doing, talking, reflecting,
discussing, observing, investigating listening and reasoning
learners should be given an opportunity to learn by doing all
the above.

In teaching mathematics there must be connections and


learners must be able to make these connections between
the language of mathematics, symbols used in mathematics,
pictures and the way mathematics is used in solving
problems.

CONNECTION MODEL IN MATHEMATICS


SYMBOLS

UNDERSTANDING REAL LIFE


PICTURES MATHEMATICS EXPERIENCE

LANGUAGE

The model indicates that connecting mathematical language


with mathematical symbols, practical or real life experience,
and mathematical pictures leads to understanding of
mathematics by the learner.

The curriculum suggested language competences; language


plays a central role in mathematics. Mathematics has a very
particular language and being able to read, interpret and
respond in the language is central.

With language we refer to formal mathematics language


such as subtraction, equals. All learners must be given a
chance to use the mathematical language as a powerful and
typical human ability.

Symbols we refer to those used to represent numbers and


number operations, equality and inequality eg. 3, ¼ ,+ - .
Practical experiences refer to any kind of engagement with
physical objectives such as money, counters, measuring.

Before teaching any concept let the learners get the


meaning of the words you will be using in their real context
with the help of real objects. Introduce the use of pictures
after use of real objects to bring out the concept. Slowly by
slowly use the symbols and then apply the mathematics to
real life situations in the way of solving problems.

METHODS OF TEACHING MATHEMATICS

Mathematics education relies heavily on the preparation of


the teachers. Teaching and learning is a complex process
which requires appropriate preparations in both content and
methodology.

Text book centred pedagogy dulls the teachers’


mathematics activity.

As you prepare look at each learner as an individual with


unique personality who acquires knowledge skills and
attitudes at different times, rates and ways.

CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING

Serves to improve students’ problem solving and creative


thinking skills as well as interpersonal and communication
skills all of which help the learner to become a team player.

How to use it
 Determine if you have the means to conduct a
cooperative lesson.
 Determine how many students will comprise a team.
 Pre- plan resources and enough time.
 Think about how you will arrange the classroom
furniture.
 Think about what your role as a teacher will be.
 Group learners in a heterogeneous manner. Of about 5-7
and encourage discussion and solving problems.
 Provide enough time and materials to aid the
discussion.
 Move from group to group giving assistance and
encouragement ask provoking questions.
 Allow learners time to report to entire class for further
discussion

EXPOSITION

 Give clear and proper sequenced explanation of the


concept you want to develop.
 Ensure that there is teacher- learner questioning
(dialogue)
 Make careful preparations begin with what the learners
know and every stage should be understood before the
next is began. Ensure that you encourage full
participation of all learners.
 Present mathematics using 1,2,3 technique that is
concrete, pictorial and symbolic.
GAMES

It is a procedure which employs skills and has a winner. It is


used to practice and reinforce basic skills or introduce new
concepts and develop logical thing. Eg when teaching
probability.

GUIDED DISCOVERY

 Present a series of structured situation to the learners.


Learners are supposed to study these situations in
order to discover some concepts.
 Ask learners to identify the rule without telling them.
 Give enough guidance to aid discovery.

PROBLEM SOLVING

Is the ability to apply mathematics to a variety of situations


in which we give the name problem solving. it helps learners
to develop the ability to think mathematically. As you teach
mathematics to learners you should let them solve problems
drawn from their own experience. We need to see learners
doing mathematics not to listen and watch mathematics
being done by the teacher.

You should adopt a teaching method after considering the


nature of children, their interests, maturity and resources
available. The method adopted must

1. Ensure maximum participation


2. Proceed from concrete to abstract
3. Provide knowledge at the understanding level of
learners

Note for effective teaching and learning

 All learners must be involved.


 Teaching must be made practical
 Should not bore the learners
 Present the topic consistently
 Derive examples from the learners’ experience and
explanations must be clear.

PREPARATION FOR TEACHING

A curriculum is in place but content in the curriculum is in


broad form. We need to break it down into manageable
units by extracting a scheme of work. A scheme of work
is also broad that we have to break it into teachable
components.

SCHEME OF WORK

What are the components?

How does it look like?

LESSON PLAN

What are Its components?

How it looks like?

How to teach using it?


ASSESSMENT

Assessment is critical in the teaching and learning of


mathematics

Make assessment as an integral part of mathematics


instruction. This requires planning specific ways to use
exercises to discover what learners do and don’t
understand. Assessment is generally done to find out
whether learning has taken place. It is

therefore; very important for the mathematics teacher to


carry out the different forms of assessment so that there is
evidence of positive behavior change. Assessment takes a
two major of forms of classroom assessments. These
include

1. Assessment for learning


2. Assessment of learning

Assessment for learning (formative) the power of


assessment comes from recognizing how much learning is
taking place in the given tasks. It is an ongoing activity that
allows you the teacher to monitor students on the day to day
basis and you should modify your teaching based on what
the learners need to be successful. This assessment
provides learners with timely and specific feedback.

Formative assessment includes setting teacher tests which


need much preparation before a test is done.
SETTING A TEST

We should prepare a test plan just like a builder prepares a


building plan before actual construction, so must a test
constructor make a test plan

Before setting a test

1. Know the class you intend to set a test for


2. Know the reason why you want to test the learners.
3. Put in mind the topics already covered.
4. How long the test will be
5. What you want to test.( in terms of number of items)
6. How the test will be scored
7. Think of a marking guide
8. The distribution of test items according to the level of
difficult.

Assessment of learning (summative) it provides information


about learners’ achievement after a period of time.

In both forms you need to plan for testing and this can best
be guided by a blue print or a table of specification