Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Day 2 an approach to the teaching of Mathematics and concept of whole numbers

In teaching early learners to count, when we encounter problems in teaching, it would be good to examine the background of the child. It is sometimes not just the cognitive or the psychomotor development of the child. Reflecting to my early years of learning mathematics in school, I remembered the way of teaching it was so much filled with explanation upon explanation and rote learning on the process of solving mathematical problems was the mode of instruction. It is rather comforting to see the learning of mathematics in a different light from our class lecturer, Doctor Yeap. I do totally agree that teaching mathematics by way of explanation is not a good instructional approach as the tendency to veer into a rote style of instruction is highly probable. I see the powerful application of “concrete experiences” in teaching the learners the concepts and application of mathematics. A major theme in the theoretical framework of Jerome Bruner is that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. In the Beans game, we see the application of concrete experience, that is, the nature of using beans giving “a feel and touch” stimulating the cognitive process as the players engage in the play and at the same time learning subtraction when they draw their beans in one or two number. This exercise also emphasizes the learning of “Whole Numbers” denoting that we only can subtract from things of a common noun, in this case, the beans.

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