Entry #2 – The Importance of Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs

a) From reflecting on the readings assigned, I now have a much clearer understanding about what my own beliefs are towards mathematics as well as the awareness of the endless strategies, expectations and practices teachers have for themselves. Reading the variety of categories mentioned in Goos’ ‘Why Teachers Matter‘ I found my beliefs to fit into many of them opposed to being fully defined in one. I strongly agree with the concept that teacher’s beliefs reflect how they portray themselves in the classroom throughout their practice. Mathematics is constantly around us, some of us may not always be aware of it. Whether it is dealing with numbers in school, measuring supplies to build a house, providing change at the grocery store or bank, or simply figuring out how much flour to put in your cookie recipe, we are continually using math skills. Therefore mathematics is an essential subject that we must offer our students so they can learn and improve these transferable, significant skills. 

Another excellent point made in these readings was how powerfully our interests and beliefs of the subject matter are reflected onto our students. I have easily had a handful of high school teachers and some professors who made the class and content extremely distasteful because it was not something they truthfully enjoyed. If we enter our classrooms (the environment that we have the ability to create) and simply write the facts on the board, have them copy it down, practice endless worksheets, then regurgitate the formula-based processes back to me in a few weeks on an exam is not going to interest my students, or myself quite frankly. Teachers need to have that passion to change the predisposition many students have about the importance of math. As mentioned above, I truly believe math is important for the reason of relevance and daily existence in our lives that if I continually use a textbook from 10 years ago, blasting questions at my students to solve oppose to understand, I am completely missing out on the opportunities for them to build on their existing knowledge, explore their world around them and to gain a full understanding of mathematics rather than memorizing it.

b)

– I believe mathematics is applicable, relatable and can be successful for all individuals

– I believe mathematics offers an opportunity to further understand the world around us by connecting concepts to real life situations

– I believe students should have the freedom to try different approaches to reach their solutions and expand their learning at their desired pace

– I believe teachers have the responsibility to take the necessary extra steps of making lessons interactive and engaging for all students

– I believe mathematics allows students to successfully take abstract concepts and break them down to concrete tasks that they can accomplish

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