This week we had to read Chapter One from Goos’ textbook Teaching Secondary School Mathematics, we also had to the following two article posts: Goos, M. (2006). Why teachers matter. ATM, 62(4), 8-13 and Beswick, K. (2006). The importance of mathematics teachers’ beliefs. ATM, 62(4), 17-22. We then had to respond to the following questions.
a) Referring to key ideas in the articles and textbook chapter, write a reflection on your perspective on the importance of teacher’s beliefs about what mathematics is, what it means to know and do mathematics, and why mathematics is important to learn.
In the chapter and the two articles that I read, each one of them stressed the importance of how a teacher’s belief impacts their classroom practice. I completely agree with this statement. The way a teacher presents themselves in front of a class and while teaching will influence his or her students’ opinion about how the class is going to be. If a teacher has a bad attitude, bad behaviour, and lets their student see that they aren’t passionate about the subject, will change the students’ mind about the class and even the subject overall. A teacher could make the class too hard because he or she doesn’t want to take the time to go through each step of the problem, this will make students very frustrated and they will eventually give up. If a teacher has bad beliefs and isn’t passionate about the subject, his or her students’ success rate will reflect that. Beswick’s article talks about three different types of belief systems for mathematics, one of them being seeing mathematics as numbers and applying symbols and such to those numbers and the more complex being looking deeply into the subject implicitly and explicitly. I feel as though I am in between these two stages. I no longer see mathematics as just numbers and substituting things into an equation but I’m still learning how to problems more in depthly and have a deeper understanding. I believe that if one is going to start teaching mathematics they need to be able to see the deeper side of the problems and not just look at the “surface structure” of the question. This way a teacher will be able to help the students who are struggling but will still be able to challenge the more advance students because they have a good understanding of what mathematics is and can apply their knowledge to do so. Personally, I see mathematics as an every day life skill that everyone should have/needs to have and know. People are using mathematics on an every day basis, whether they know it or not, it is constantly around us. While we are shopping, while we are cooking, while someone is building a house or some sort of project, mathematics is always a part of life events. If one doesn’t know mathematics, even the basics, their everyday life could become a little more difficult. The more experience I get with the subject and being in the classroom teaching, I’m sure the following beliefs and the opinions I stated above will change, but something that will always stay true in my heart is the influence a teacher has on the students learning.
b) Use the articles and textbook chapter to help you reflect on and formulate your own mathematics “creed” – that is, a list of five (5) “I believe…” statements about mathematics and/or mathematics teaching & learning.
- I believe that everyone uses mathematics every day, whether they know it or not!
- I believe that an engaging and interactive lesson will make it easier for students to learn.
- I believe that mathematics can be learned by anyone.
- I believe that the teacher can influence the students’ opinion on mathematics (if they like it or not).
- I believe that mathematics is a challenging subject, but in the long run it can be one of the most rewarding.