1) Throughout this course I have been learning about teaching mathematics through inquiry from a variety of resources. Our weekly readings have provided many useful examples on how teachers are learning how to teach inquiry, as well as successful methods of how students learn best through inquiry. I have found in-class activities to be the utmost beneficial strategy to understand inquiry as we have now acquired the knowledge from both the view points of the teacher and the student. At the beginning of EMTH 350 I was aware that inquiry learning existed, but I had little to no exposure to this in my high school math experiences; I was lost when it came to knowing how to teach this way. The first inquiry activity we did, exploring radians using tape, caught my attention right away on how useful and essential teaching through inquiry is for our students. I would have never thought about radians in that way as I am so used to math being simple, straight forward formulas and definitions to regurgitate (similar to Brea’s initial experience). Being assigned this small inquiry unit has been challenging, more so due to my unfamiliarity with this strategy in my past, but I am confident to say this is finally a beneficial assignment in my university experience! Another appreciative factor involved in our lesson planning is the opportunity to be paired with a colleague for collaboration reasons. Working alone would have made this experience more difficult, whereas feeding off each others’ ideas and learning from one another is an excellent opportunity during our pre-service years.
2) My university ed math courses have challenged my beliefs as a mathematics teacher many times, but so far always for the best. I have come to acquire a much more open mind, have learned an endless amount of different teaching strategies, and continuing to further my knowledge and understanding of high school math content and curriculum. After being introduced to teaching through inquiry specifically I feel the article has affirmed my beliefs about mathematics teaching and how import self-reflection is in order to notice necessary changes that should be made. Connecting specifically to one creed I stated in my last blog, “I believe mathematics offers an opportunity to further understand the world around us by connecting concepts to real life situations”, Brea mentioned this as well, in how her students were digging deeper as she allowed for an open minded classroom. They were coming to class with their own connections they had made to the material opposed to her traditionally lecturing, having them take exams and no further exploration. Inquiry, whether guided or not, fits into another one of my creeds, “I believe teachers have the responsibility to take the necessary extra steps of making lessons interactive and engaging for all students”. Brea first realized the need to change when her position as a mathematics teacher became dull and unenjoyable for her, this doesn’t even go to mention how the students were feeling about it if the teacher did not even feel passionate about the lessons. This article affirmed my belief that teachers have the responsibility and choice to take that step, improve the lessons, make them more engaging, and if we feel unprepared to do so we can attend these extra conferences or courses for professional development.
Therefore, these changes in beliefs and experiences will continue to exist throughout my teaching profession, especially as I am just starting out. Fortunately, the article is another useful resource to affirm my current beliefs, and throughout this EMTH 350 course I will continue to be exposed to inquiry lessons to experience professional development with my colleagues now before we enter the field. Our university program has so much to offer our pre-service teachers and we would be hindering ourselves and our future students if we do not explore these opportunities deeper.