To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Subject: Re: Better strategies in teaching Mathematics
Hi, I am a beginning teacher and I have not had much practice to be so wise, however in all areas of teaching, not just mathematics I stick to a basic lesson structure which helps students develop the knowledge and skills you are trying to teach. My first question is, how is your day organised for learning? A wise teacher I met on field experience shared with me the idea that kids work with the head in the morning, the heart in the middle of the day and the hands in the afternoon, there fore implying that the morning is the best time for logic, the midday for creative thinking and the afternoon for outdoor activity or hands on stuff, when they are winding down and their attention span is shorter. Perhaps it would be beneficial for students to do maths in the morning when they are fresh? Second, I was interested in knowing how you structure your individual lessons to support the acquisition and retention of new skills. i use this general format,maybe it can help you! 1. Introduction - this can come in the form of a game which recognises and employs the use of the skills you are trying to teach. The teacher can then facilitate a class dicussion or brainstorm to refresh the skills from the prior lesson, and introduce the goals for todays lesson. I feel that this should be the shortest part of the lesson, the real learning comes from practice, and you need to grab their attention quickly! 2. Whole class discussion and practice - this is where you workshop ideas, pose questions and have group work to make connections. This can make up about 1/4 of the time in your lesson. 3. In the main part of the lesson students to need to practice what they are being taught in some way, either in the context of a problem scenario, repetitive practice of a concept in different contexts (i.e. a range of both worded and number problems). They need the opportunity to explore, take risks, make mistakes and learn from them independently or in a group situation. The teachers role can vary from helping individual students, to working with groups. 4. In the conclusion of the lesson, the teacher facilitates discussion about what was learnt in the days lesson and assesses how successful individuals and groups have been with achieving the objectives of the lesson. That way you will know what concepts need more work, and students will have some closure and lasting thoughts to take with them to the follow up lesson. I hope this helps, and if you have any thing to add to my suggestions or ways I can improve my lesson structure I myself would also be grateful for feedback. Heck, there is no one real right way is there? Doesnt it depend on the needs of your students?? Its all relative, but its a start!
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