Significances in the flow of interacting

Posted: November 28, 2013 in The root of the matter
Tags: , ,

 

Today I learned about the importance of being aware of students’ personal perceptions and ways of being. Each child is bringing a different perception to the classroom that is his or her socially constructed world view. As educators, we must account for these individual differences when planning lessons. Moreover, we must look at these differences in a positive light, because each difference brings out a multi-faceted dynamic that can prompt engaging discussion; either peer-to-peer or student-to-teacher. I think that we can use these interactions to shape mathematical discussion: “why do you think student A wrote this, while student B wrote that?”

I feel there needs to be more dialogue in mathematics. My own personal experience involves about fifteen minutes of the teacher explaining the lesson, followed by silence for thirty minutes (and some hyperventilating) as we scribbled answers to formulae in our notebooks. I was never asked how I came to an answer, or what my reasoning was, or the logic behind my thinking. This needs to change. Students need to be accountable for their thinking, and can only do so when problem solving and open ended questions become the norm in mathematics. Rote arithmetic creates a sort of surface understanding of a concept: the student may reach the ‘right’ answer, but be completely unaware of why or how their answer is correct.

With discussion comes ideas, and with ideas comes learning and higher thinking. We think about our own thinking when someone questions why we are doing what we are doing or how we are doing what we are doing.

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