Tuesday, August 22, 2006

E Equals Emcee Squared

Of all my education-related classes this semester, there is only one that asked all the students to write about why we wish to be teachers: my math class. Specifically, the class is titled: Mathematics for the Teacher. It is a content class, not a methodology class. We are being taught mathematics that we will teach to our students. This class is about more than the process of mathematics. It is about philosophical mathematics and the application of real, useful mathematics for the elementary student. Part of our learning is to discuss issues related to mathematics. Here are the questions that we are required to write about:

  1. Why do you want to be a teacher?
  2. What should 3rd and 4th grade students know and be able to do?
  3. Should students be able to use a calculator in elementary school?
  4. What is the role of the teacher?
  5. Write about the “Dumbing” of Amercia
  6. Respond to these quotes by British mathematician, W.W. Sawyer:
"The depressing thing about arithmetic badly taught is that it destroys a child's intellect and, to some extent, his/her integrity."

"Before they are taught arithmetic, children will not give their assent to utter nonsense; afterwards they will."

"Instead of looking at things and thinking about them, they will make wild guesses in the hopes of pleasing the teacher."

I haven’t quite formulated the answers yet. That should come as my educational path continues. So you can count on me answering these questions as time moves along. As much as I dread arithmetic, and it pains me to even think about looking at the monthly bills and computing and reconciling all of that, I am looking forward to this class. I think, just based on the first class, that it will not only challenge me, but help me really learn the concepts of mathematics and not so much the process.


Camera Obscura said...

Ooh, #2 is tricky. Does it mean all 3rd and 4th grade students, regardless of ability? Because hey, I've known some end-of-the-year 4th graders that were using variables in equations. And I've known some that were still working on two-digit subtraction. And the latter were not at that stage because they were badly taught.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand how anyone can dread doing elementary-school-level arithmetic. Perhaps you meant teaching it?

admin said...

Obscura: What I said was, I dread arithmetic. It has always been a difficult and challenging subject for me. This class is about teaching math to elementary, but that is not to say that the arithmetic is elementary. Does that make sense?

While I have always felt dread regarding arithmetic, I am excited about this class. The instructor is showing us math in new and exciting ways. He's approaoching it very differently than I've been taught in the past.

My goal, of course, is to become so comfortable with arithmetic, that I not only teach it, but exude enthusiasm for the subject.

MrsThurstonHowell said...

From an occasional Sub's perspective it's been a bit of a dread to teach elementary math for the past two years at SPS because the philosophy, the methods, and the language used to reach the standard math outcomes are all new.

Fat Jack has the right frame of mind going into it.