At the very beginning of the Discovering Mathematics module I was quite anxious about maths as a whole however I had the intentions of getting the most out of the module and hopefully changing my attitude towards maths going forward in my teaching career. This module has definitely changed my outlook on the subject and my learning will without a doubt support me in the teaching and learning of mathematics in the future.
When first introduced to Liping Ma’s four key elements of profound mathematics in the very first input I must admit that I didn’t quite understand how these elements actually fitted in with the everyday mathematics we teach in our primary classrooms.
Now, at the end of the module I can safely say that I have a much deeper understanding of the four elements of (inter)connectedness, multiple perspectives, basic principles and longitudinal coherence and just how they will support me in the future. Ma (2010) states that:
“PUFM is more than a sound conceptual understanding of elementary mathematics- it is the awareness of the conceptual structure and basic attitudes of mathematics inherent in elementary mathematics and the ability to provide a foundation for that conceptual structure and instil those basic attitudes in students” (Liping Ma, 2010, page 106)
Ma also speaks about the depth, breadth and thoroughness of understanding that an individual with PUFM will have. They will be able to make links between individual pieces of mathematical knowledge and understand the connections between them.
Therefore, it is vital that we, as prospective teachers, are aware of PUFM and gain the confidence and competence needed in order to teach our future pupils mathematics in a way in which will benefit them in the future.
I would say that this module has helped me tackle the insecurities I had about teaching maths and going forward I feel as though I am much more comfortable with the prospect of teaching maths in the future. The module has really opened my eyes as to just how much mathematics plays a part in society around us each and every day. I will take forward this knowledge and use it in a classroom environment in the future as I feel that by linking maths to other areas of society, it makes it a more accessible subject for all and perhaps will engage those children who suffer from the ongoing issue of maths anxiety.
Ma, Liping. (2010) Knowing and Teaching elementary mathematics: teachers’ understanding of fundamental mathematics in China and the United States New York: