Posted: November 29th, 2015
Write a compare/contrast argument for BOTH sides of the question: How will I teach math, traditional or problem solving? This argument will NOT be an emotional argument, but one supported with the voice of authority. That means you must use published research from current or past math theorists. You can use any of the things we have read this semester and any of the texbooks from previous semesters or courses. Remember those math educators/theorists from last semester? Yes, use them too. Can you use TEA, the TEKS, NCTM, or literature from STEM or the CCSSs? YES!Â
You will be using quotes and paraphrasing lots of people, so it will be EXTREMELY important for you to keep up with your sources. You will use the person’s last name in your paper, but you will need the title of the book/article/website with the publication date, etc. for the References page. Your chosen profession uses the American Psychological Association or APA format for writing. The VERY best place to get the easiest explanation of APA is the Purdue Online Writing Lab or OWL. Unless you decide to pursue a Master’s degree or write for publication, this will most likely be the last time you need to use APA so I do not expect you to be an expert NOR do I want you spending too much time stressing over format and not writingÂ a solid argument.Â
I will have all the information attached in a word document.Â Please read it very thoroughly.
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – Assignment Introduction
During this semester, you will read, observe, practice, and learn about creating a student-centered environment that supports flexible thinking and fluency in solving problems without memorized procedures that have little or no meaning. Most of you bring a vast amount of knowledge and experience of a teacher-directed approach to teaching math. The question staring you in the face is How will I teach math? You may already have a good idea of how you plan to teach math, but do you know why you plan to teach this way? No matter the way–you must know why.
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – Beliefs
What do you believe about the way children learn? What do you believe about the classroom environment? Should lessons be purposeful, interactive, and engaging? Why? What do you believe? What do you believe about your role as a teacher? What is your ultimate job as a teacher? What is the goal of education? What do you believe?
Harwayne, says “classroom practice must be based on richly understood and deeply held beliefs about how children learn . . . what teachers say and do and how they engage children . . . must have theoretical underpinnings. Their practice is not based on a publisher’s set of teacher directions or a handbook filled with teaching tips, but on concepts they themselves have examined carefully” (p. 207).
What do you believe? On what theoretical underpinnings have you based your beliefs?
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – How Will I Teach Math?
You have/will read Larry Bushman’s experience in changing the way he taught math in the Share and Compare text. You have/will witness(ed) math being taught in a math workshop/problem solving environment at the Charter School. You have/will listen(ed) to four different teachers discuss how they changed their teaching approach in math and watched video clips of their classrooms on the Number Talks dvd. You have/will view(ed) Leslie Housman’s first grade class in Georgia. You have/will read what the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics has to say about the way math should be taught. You have studied the language expressed in the Texas Essential Skills and Knowledge. You bring your own experience from math classrooms to the table. But the question is, “How Will I Teach Math?”
Some of you will say, “I’ll do whatever my district wants me to do.” Others will say, “Oh THIS is how I want to teach! I wish I had been taught like this.” Some will say, “I get this, but I’m pretty sure I will teach math more like I was taught. I did okay in math and besides, I know I can teach it that way.”
But the question remains, “HOW WILL I TEACH MATH?”
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – Defending My Decision
In truth, there are some districts that will dictate how you teach math (and reading), but not many. For the most part, when you close the door, what you do is up to you. Also in truth, many of you who are excited about teaching for problem solving in a math workshop will start strong and run out of energy, or be faced with negative cohorts watching your every move and become disillusioned. Those die-hard good ‘ole days’ procedural only math promoters may find themselves employed by a district desiring to ‘make a change’ (especially after STARR testing).
It does not matter how you decide to teach math—parents WILL question what you are doing and WHY you are doing it that way. The ‘right’ parent gets the principal asking what and why too. In just the right size school, you may find yourself explaining your methods to a school board member!
Hmmmmm . . . How will you teach math? Why are you teaching like that?
One answer could be, “Well, at SFA they said, . . . . . . . . . , but that will not get you far. You will be a DEGREED professional; people will expect you to be able to justify your actions. Being an SFA graduate means you know what you are doing AND why you are doing it that way. You must be an advocate for your students.
So we are back to the original question: How will you teach math? and why will you teach it that way? You must be PREPARED to defend HOWEVER you decide to teach. Good teachers know what they are doing and almost more importantly–why they are doing it.
Use what you have learned about the way students learn, the principles and theories you have studied, and the experience you have had to write this paper.
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – Expert vs. Opinion
You must justify each of your claims. For example, if you say, “students need to _____”, then identify the experts who promote that thinking. The more experts you cite, the better. The same is true for statements such as, “it is more important for students to memorize procedures than understand why the procedure works.” Cite the experts who are saying that. You need to use APA formatting for your citations. “Experts in the field” are defined as peer-reviewed and published authors. Having an opinion and writing for a newspaper or non-peer reviewed source is not considered research-based nor an ‘expert’ in the field of math education.
Tip: When you cite someone, complete the reference page information THEN. It will make your life easier when you are wrapping up the paper. The last thing you want to be doing is hunting for a source you have cited and can’t find the information you need.
Please be aware: APA is not the MLA style you used in high school English. You will not use foot notes and your last pages are not Works Cited. The Purdue OWL (online writing lab) is the quickest and easiest APA guide. If you will continue your formal education and persue a Master’s degree at some point, then pay attention and learn how to use APA correctly without any of the templates. If you are not continuing your education (you should 🙂 ), then use the OWL. Using the templates will help you get it right.
I cannot stress enough to have someone else read your paper!!!!! Do not turn in a paper with grammatical errors or misspelled words. You must use complete sentences and they cannot all be simple ones. You are about to graduate from a four year university–write like it.
Another tip: Refrain from using the word “I” in your writing. Do not say things like, “I think” or “in my opinion”. You are using the thoughts of others so do not forget to give credit where it is due. When you find several sources saying about the same thing, then paraphrase or generalize the idea and use each of the sources in your citation. When you can cite multiple sources for an idea it makes the argument stronger.
The last paragraph in your paper or possibly the next to last depending on how you set up the paper, will be your opportunity to voice your thoughts. You will be basing your conclusions on the works cited in your paper; your conclusions about how you want to teach will be supported by the work of the experts in the field. Again, you do not want to bring emotions into the paper. Remain calm and state your preferences and why.
Ahhhh . . . the question I know each of you is waiting to ask–how long does it have to be? Well, my answer is “as long as it needs to be to address the prompt.” I am NOT looking for a lengthy paper that goes on and on saying much of nothing. Get to the point–back it up–and move on.
The point of this paper is for you to have justification for yourself in how you decide to teach math, but also to be able to justify your approach to your administration and parents. Some of you may be teaching with peers who do not approve of your decision; you need to be able to justify what you are doing–whatever it is you decide to do.
Take your time and do a good job. At the end you should have a much more complete idea of how you want to teach math and why.
No Emotion, Just the Facts
This is a formal paper and not something you will be able to sit down and write in an hour. When I say “no emotion,” I mean I am not interested in your opinion–not until the conclusion of the paper. You are to argue for and against teaching math in a traditional (drill and memorize) approach AND in an approach that teaches first conceptual understanding, then automaticity, as a result of understanding how numbers work. ALL of your sources must be PEER REVIEWED. Googling and searching the Internet is NOT going to yield peer reviewed sources. Newpaper opinion articles are NOT peer reviewed.
You will need to use the SFA or any other online library. If you do not know how to search for scholarly journals, then the online librarians will be happy to teach you. You pay a fee each semester to the library for just this purpose. No matter which approach you plan to use, you should be able to justify it with peer reviewed evidence.
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – Assignment Instructions
Dropbox Assignment: Approaches for Teaching Mathematics
Write a compare/contrast argument for BOTH sides of the question. This argument will NOT be an emotional argument, but one supported with the voice of authority. That means you must use published research from current or past math theorists. You can use any of the things we have read this semester and any of the texbooks from previous semesters or courses. Remember those math educators/theorists from last semester in ECH 332? Yes, use them too. Can you use TEA, the TEKS, NCTM, or literature from STEM or the CCSSs? YES! You should. You have access to the SFA library and its extensive database–all accessible from your computer.
You will be using quotes and paraphrasing lots of people, so it will be EXTREMELY important for you to keep up with your sources. You will use the person’s last name in your paper, but you will need the title of the book/article/website with the publication date, etc. for the References page. Your chosen profession uses the American Psychological Association or APA format for writing. The VERY best place to get the easiest explanation of APA is the Purdue Online Writing Lab or OWL. Unless you decide to pursue a Master’s degree or write for publication, this will most likely be the last time you need to use APA so I do not expect you to be an expert NOR do I want you spending too much time stressing over format and not writing a solid argument.
Approaches for Teaching Mathematics – The Bottom Line
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