… many students have difficulty in school not because they are incapable of performing successfully but because they are incapable of believing they can perform successfully …
Pajares & Schunk, 2002
What is your goal as a Math teacher? How do your fellow teachers define mathematical learning?
NCTM suggests, if we can endow our students with the abilities to explore, conjecture, and reason logically; endow them with the ability to use a variety of mathematical methods to solve non-routine problems, the job is well done.
To be specific, our students need to
- Learn to value Math
- Grow confident in their ability to do Math
- Learn to communicate mathematically
- Learn to reason mathematically
To help students learn standards-based mathematics, you must establish a classroom climate that promotes challenge and instills positive self-belief. A great lesson plan, based on students’ capabilities and prior-knowledge, can significantly affect the mathematical achievement of your class.
Moreover, students tend to follow certain learning paths, as they learn mathematics. You can use formative assessments to understand their unique learning path. However, caution is advised.
There is a difference between learning assessments and assessments FOR learning. Only the latter would help you take actions that promote mathematical learning. Assessments FOR learning will help you adjust your instruction and target the learning needs of your students.
7 Teaching strategies to promote Mathematical learning
Following strategies will help you deepen and strengthen — their positive experiences in mathematics. In general, these strategies, with minor adaptations, can help you improve your students’ mathematical acumen.
Encourage exploration and investigation in your classroom
Build on students’ experience and knowledge
Design your instruction to match students’ learning paths
Use models, manipulatives, and discuss patterns
Base the curriculum over research-based instruction models
Promote positive feeling towards mathematics
Use real world problem-solving activities
These strategies, once implemented, would allow you to create a new classroom environment that promotes student engagement with mathematical problems, and it should also have a considerable impact on their motivation to learn mathematics.