I have been worried about teaching maths. This is because I have never liked maths, therefore I felt as though I would not be good at teaching it. The reason I don’t feel passionately about it is because I remember maths as sitting quietly, doing ten questions then for the teacher to mark them and discover I’d got most of them wrong anyway. However, this session with Tara gave me an insight into how interesting maths can be.
Talking to the children about their maths was an idea I found quite surprising as I mostly always experienced maths as a subject where I would work quietly. Asking children to discuss and justify their answers not only allows the teacher to understand what is going on in their mind but also demonstrates to the other children alternative ways to work out a sum or a problem. This may help other children if they feel stuck or just give them alternative, easier ways to find a solution. This also develops communication skills and their confidence as they try to explain their thinking.
Referring to maths as a language made me realise the importance of it. It is a universal language, everyone uses numbers and therefore can be used as a means of communication. Furthermore we discussed the myths of maths that have arisen over decades. This made me feel responsible for getting rid of them. Just because I have ‘maths phobia’ does not mean that I should pass it on to the children that I teach. I would love to show the children that I am passionate about maths (even if I’m not) to motivate them to try their best and ensure that they enjoy the subject.
Maths can be taught through other curricular areas such as PE, science or even art. This is a great way to teach maths because even the children who dislike maths will still enjoy the lesson. It may allow them to discard the mindset of ‘I cant do this’, meaning they will allow themselves to do their best and won’t be stopped by this mental block. The interactive learning, such as doing games in PE, means that children of all levels can interact with each other.
Even though maths was not my favourite subject at school, I look forward to teaching it through talking, doing and seeing. I can use the knowledge I have gained to show children that maths is an intriguing and fun subject.