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Math a four letter word considered as terror and horrifying
for most of the students.  Sometimes
because of this word stress and anxiety is caused among the students, a feeling of tension, apprehension, or
fear that interferes and affects their performance in this particular subject.
Why is this four letter word a horror story for students? The answer to this
question is that math is always considered to be a right or wrong subject and
getting right is paramount. The subject is victim as it is often taught with
restricted ways to solve a particular problem and any other approaches would be
wrong, even if students got the right answer. When learning, understanding the
concepts should be vital, but with a right/wrong approach to teach this particular
subject, students are encouraged not to try, not to experiment, not to find algorithms that work for them, and because of this their critical
thinking skills are badly affected which hinders them in providing proper
justifications and reason for the particular approach towards problem solving.

“Teachers
benefit children most when they encourage them to
share their thinking process and justify their answers out loud or in writing
as they perform math operations. … With less of an emphasis on right or wrong
and more of an emphasis on process, teachers can help alleviate students’
anxiety about math”.(Furner,
Joseph M., Berman, Barbara T., “Math anxiety: Overcoming a major obstacle
to the improvement of student math performance”, Childhood
Education, Spring 2003)

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The
fear towards this subject is because of some emblematic approach followed by
the teachers and that is:

·        
a problem related to a
topic is introduced

·        
a solution technique
is introduced in form of series of lectures

·        
number of  practice problems are repeated until mastery
is achieved

This emblematic approach needs to be replaced by making learning
and knowledge as student’s creation; however rote learning and a conventional
approach (right/ wrong) to teaching math serves as external to the student.  Focusing on the concepts rather than the
correct answer should be approach when teaching this subject. Students should be allowed to work on their own and discuss
their solutions; along with the approach towards solution before the answer is
given.

Research
says that the anxiety towards the subject lowers if :

·        
Accommodating for
different learning styles.

Math
lessons should be flexible and can be altered according to the
needs and learning styles of students.
New concepts can be taught through different activities such as, small skit or
act,  hands on activities, interactive
group work, visual aids or information technology

·        
Relaxation in  testing environments

Relating math with everyday
live.

Students are always inquisitive about what they study and why
they study they try to relate each and every detail of their studies with the
use of it in everyday life or relation of it to everyday life issues and
problems. Children learn best when math is taught in a
way that is relevant to their everyday lives.

·        
Letting students evaluate
by putting in their own input.

Students should be given a free hand to explore different
approaches towards the solution of the particular problem rather than by
restricting them to follow what is taught. Different strategies and approaches
will help them to derive the formulas according to their own needs. This will
help them to develop confidence in learning new concepts.

·        
Discourage passive learning and encourage
active learning.

 To learn mathematics in depth, students should
be engaged in exploring, conjecturing, and thinking, as well as in rote
learning of rules and procedures. Instead of rote learning of formulas manipulatives
should be introduced where they are able to evaluate or evolve their own
formula and strategy.

·        
Visualization has also been used effectively to
help reduce math anxiety.

It is observed that
what ever we see we remember it for long . Math is a subject in which students
needs to remember many steps and procedure required towards the correct
approach . visualization can be a help to a greater extent. Digital tools support visualization.

Role of digital tools in mathematics

Nowadays Children are
obsessed with gadgets and technologies. They are getting access to many new
things with just a click. They enjoy experimenting , exploring, and thinking . These are all the things which we require
for detail study of this particular subject and this is the reason technology
can be very well connected to mathematics. Digital
tools support visualization of mathematical concepts in various ways of
expressions, and as such may foster versatile thinking, especially when these
representations are dynamically linked. At the upper secondary education, these
tools can be used for exploring and discovering mathematical correlations and
for modeling real complex phenomena.

In mathematics education, content-specific technologies
include computer algebra systems; dynamic geometry environments; interactive
applets; handheld computation, data collection, and analysis devices; and
computer-based applications. These technologies support students in exploring
and identifying mathematical concepts and relationships. Findings from a number
of studies have shown that the strategic use of technological tools can support
both the learning of mathematical procedures and skills as well as the
development of advanced mathematical proficiencies, such as problem solving,
reasoning, and justifying . The use
of all these possibilities foster processes that cannot be developed so well in
absence of technology,These technologies increase students’ access to
information, ideas, and interactions that can support and enhance sense making,
which is central to the process of taking ownership of knowledge.

 Geogebra is one of
such software which joins geometry , algebra and calculus. It is a software
which dynamically and interactively connects to geometry system. You can do
constructions with points , vectors, segments, lines, polygons and conic
sections as well as functions while changing them dynamically. This software has
the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points functions
and graphs.

 

Use of Geogebra in secondary mathematics

GeoGebra is a Dynamic
Mathematics Software (DMS) for teaching and learning mathematics from middle
school through college level. It is as easy to use as Dynamic Geometry Software
(DGS) but also provides basic features of Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) to
bridge some gaps between geometry, algebra and calculus. GeoGebra is open
source software under the GNU General Public License and freely available at
www.geogebra.org. There, you can either download installers for multiple
platforms or launch the software directly from the Internet using GeoGebra Web
Start. It is also available as an applet.

                                                                                                                

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