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The Mathematics Curriculum and its Importance

There are a number of groups who have a view of what makes a good mathematics teacher. Pupils, parents,mathematics educators, schools and government are natural commentators on teachers and their skills. Of these, the voice of the government is perhaps the most powerful in the England and Wales through its strict regulation of training programmes (Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), 1998; Welsh Of? ce, 1998) and inspection of schools. The voice of mathematics educators is heard through polemic (Burton, 1992) and research (Simon & Schifter, 1991).

The voices of pupils and of parents are  heard informally in the school yard and at the school gates, but little formal research exists. This paper explores the views of schools by examining the material sent to potential candidates for basic grade posts. The material details the attributes the school is seeking through person specications, job descriptions and general descriptive text. Assuming that schools are intending to appoint a good teacher (although there are recruitment problems in many areas), this material should be a re ection of the attributes they value in a mathematics teacher.

This research focuses on state-funded secondary schools in England and Wales who were seeking a basic grade teacher early in 2000. Such posts would be open to recently quali? ed teachers and indeed to those currently in training, who would not be able to take up their post until September 2000, such is the current shortage of mathematics teachers.Material was collected from 80 schools. All but one of these schools was in England. In the UK, the large majority of full-time teaching posts are advertised in a weekly paper called The Times Educational Supplement. When an appropriate post was advertised, a request for details was sent using a pseudonym and a private address.

A self-addressed pre-paid envelope was included whether requested or not. It was decided to collect the information in this covert manner to assure that the material received was identical to that usually produced rather than a modied version for a university-based researcher. Relf and Hobbs (1999) collected material in 1992/3 and 1995/6 from 50 schools. This material was intended for referees and, whilst it contained similar material to this research it pre-dates the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) regulations, the Career Entry Pro? le (CEP) (Teacher Training Agency (TTA), 2001) and the more rigorous inspection of schools.

The material was sorted to extract material which gave information speci? cally about the attributes of the teacher being sought. Many schools included general information intended for prospective pupils such as details of the buildings and facilities, the management structure and the extra-curricular activities.The material was analysed in a structured and rigorous manner. First, it was read several times until the main themes and categories emerged. Each school’s material was then coded according to these categories and additional categories were added as necessary. A deputy head teacher who was also a mathematics teacher was consulted where there was doubt over the interpret- ation of the content. 

The Mathematics Curriculum and its Importance

Mathematics as subject for learning among other subjects is interesting to learn and has got a long history. It is a subject that has far reaching myths especially for most learners who have adopted a wrong mentality of the subject. It is believed to be difficult yet for the lovers of the subject, it is interesting to learn and comprehend (Bradley & Corwyn, 2016). It is more practical and requires utmost practice so as to get acquainted with the concepts which requires in depth learning and getting accustomed to the concepts, something that can only be achieved through practicing of the problems as they call it in mathematics world.

The mathematics curriculum is made in a way that all the concepts are dependent on each other. Every topic in the curriculum borrows heavily from the other thus need for the learners to understand a good percentage of the concepts covered in every topic so as to excel (Mazzocco, 2016).  It is thus important for teachers to help students in the coverage of the finer concepts especially the elementary topics so as to set a pace for a firm foundation for the learners. Mathematics should be integrated in everyday life so as to make it friendly and easy for the learners if there is anything to go by in the future.

Formally, maths and numeracy were thought to be one and the same, this is however, not true as these terms together with their explanations can be distinguished. Numeracy is regarded as the aptitude to apply maths in real life, for instance, following a recipe, solving life problems, and even reading the timetable of the bus. On the other hand, maths is described as equations which can be used further than numeracy and daily activities like quadratic equations, calculus, and statistical analysis (Laracy, Hojnoski & Dever, 2016).

Numeracy is neither a substitute to mathematics nor same as maths. The latter is spiritual and abstract and it gives ultimate truths concerning the relationship of ideal objects. The former is concrete and appropriate and it gives dependent solutions in regard to real life problems. Maths requires students to think beyond context while numeracy is affixed in the real life context. It should be understood that the early years of children is the basic foundation for learning both numeracy and mathematics. Children at the age between five to ten years can have an access to effective numeracy and maths ideas that are pertinent to their present live (Hagg, Hegger & Plöger, 2016). It is therefore, of great significance for children to learn these discipline as it prepares them for the succeeding years.  

Distinguishing Maths and Numeracy

It has been said that, a person’s success in life totally depends upon his or her ability to solve the problems. Therefore, kids have a class in their school which helps them to learn & think logically as well as practice the application of the same. Solving a mathematics problem will help the students to think various ways to solve the problem implement a solution & evaluate the results.

Maths in real world can be quite helpful for the kids of age five to ten years to understand and solve certain problems. For example, one of the best ways to study Rational Numbers is with the help of Pizza. There is one whole pizza (Cohrssen & Church, 2017).  This pizza can be cut into a half. There will be two halves. This pizza can be cut into a quarter hence four pieces of a pizza. Therefore, the main question that lies here is, what is that quantity which when multiplied by 4 gives 1 whole of pizza that is 1/4. Same way, what is that quantity which when multiplied by 2 gives 1 whole of pizza that is ½. Hence, even 120 friends can have an equal slice of pizza cut out from one pizza. Similarly, if someone wants to distribute 2 pizzas amongst 15 friends then it would be 2/15. Hence, we can teach the students by this that rational numbers consist of two integers i.e. a dividend and a divisor (a/b = c where; c = quotient).  

As a teacher I should ensure that the mathematical proficiency is followed in accordance to the curriculum. There is need to bring out various concepts in mathematics in an orderly and organized way so as to help the learner in getting the flow of knowledge and finding time to see the connection of ideas in relation to the topic at hand as per the model ( Hunt, Bhardwa & Sheffield, 2017).

Mathematics & learning environment shall portray the creativity in the heart of mathematics. The class room learning environment can be referred to as highly beneficial for the kids & acts a third teacher for the same. Such type of learning environment will help the children to see mathematics as a sensible & useful subject it can be seen that, various materials shall be used in order to support the mathematics learning environment.

Several supporting material shall be used in the pre-primary schools to make mathematics an interesting subject. Some of the materials used to support mathematics learning are as follows:

  • Use of board games to inculcate counting & addition and subtraction.
  • Games such as snakes & ladders, Connect four are the two main games which will help to support mathematics learning and social teach as well (Lee & Pant, 2017).
  • Use of cards game which will help the kids to understand numbers represent more & less than.
  • Use of various materials such as strings, ribbon, ruler, balls of various sizes, blocks of varied colors to depict various sizes i.e. short, tall, big, small, understating of the colors etc.
  • Use of number puzzle will help the kids to fill in the missing number. This will help to encourage better problem solving skills amongst the students
  • Various types of blocks games & building material blocks are available for children. They shall be used by the students to build complicated structures or different sizes & shapes
  • Use the recycled items such as waste paper, sharpener waste, eggs shells, tubes, lids, cartons, etc to build buildings or other creative shapes. Such type of activities will help to develop young mathematicians as well as devise new strategies for problem solving.

The Significance of Early Learning in Numeracy and Maths

With the change in time, Maths is not only taken as a subject it is rather taken as a critical component of success in the years to come. Therefore, many educators are working on reworking the mathematics strategies and ensure that, the students develop such skills in an effective manner. In the 21st century, mathematics is taken as a subject, who keeps in mind the various aspects of life such as paying off the bills, use of technology (Fung et al., 2017).  Mathematics has been referred to as a subject who shows how other subjects shall be integrated with the same  In today’s century, knowledge is not only confined to what students know but also what they can do with the knowledge they possess.

With the change in time, Maths is not only taken as a subject it is rather taken as a critical component of success in the years to come. Therefore, many educators are working on reworking the mathematics strategies and ensure that, the students develop such skills in an effective manner. In the 21st century, mathematics is taken as a subject, who keeps in mind the various aspects of life such as paying off the bills, use of technology (Björklund & Ahlskog-Björkman, 2017).  Mathematics has been referred to as a subject who shows how other subjects shall be integrated with the same. In today’s century, knowledge is not only confined to what students know but also what they can do with the knowledge they possess.

 ICT has been referred to anything which provides a source of information to communicate with one another. In previous centuries, ICT was referred to as a term which depicts computer hardware, computer software, programming games, toys, video cameras etc. There are three main reasons as to why ICT matters in early childhood education. They have been depicted as follows:

  • ICT helps as well as supports the entire education sector with the help of integration of various technologies. Integration of ICT will help to formulate curriculum, various education policies.
  • ICT helps to provide new opportunities as well as strengthens the early childhood aspects.
  • ICT has an effect on the environment as well as surrounds the young children’s learning phase.
  • Reflection Question 8:

Children use various maths skills in early days of their childhood. Such types of skills are necessary for the kids as they would be ready to go to the school. Early mathematical skills which would be required in the later stages of elementary school are recognizing numeric, depth knowledge of shapes, color & size and identifying more or less (Guthormsen, Fisher, Bassok, Osterhout, DeWolf & Holyoak, 2016).  Some examples to develop young mathematicians have been described as follows:

  • Play with the kids with the help of stacking blocks. For instance, if the kid places two square blocks one on another and then a triangle on the top. He or she will not be able to place any other block on the top it. At this point, the parent shall help the child by telling him or her that, if she takes off the triangle block and used a square shaped block then she can put some more blocks (Feldman, 2016).
  • Another way of developing a young mathematician would be to read counting book to the child. As the parent reads the counting book, the child shall be encouraged to say it aloud. For example, when the parent recites the counting i.e. 4, 5, 6 “what comes next”? Such type of games will help the child to remember the counting. If the child has a strong grasping power, then the game shall be made more advanced by stretching the numbers from 10 to 100 (Felton-Koestler, Sutherland & Tracy, 2016).

Reflect on measurement misconceptions faced by primary students.  Provide examples of ways to overcome measurement misconceptions.

Mathematics in Real World

Use of number puzzle will help the kids to fill in the missing number. This will help to encourage better problem solving skills amongst the students. Various types of blocks games & building material blocks are available for children. They shall be used by the students to build complicated structures or different sizes & shapes (Cankaya & LeFevre, 2016).  Use the recycled items such as waste paper, sharpener waste, eggs shells, tubes, lids, cartons to mention but a few so as to build buildings or other creative shapes. Such type of activities will help to develop young mathematicians

In the 21st century, these have been referred to as one of the main competency which the student shall imbibe in order to have a brighter future in the long run. It is the goal of the education authorities to ensure that, highest possible mastery shall be obtained by the students. Mathematics shall be referred to as one of the main subject in the curriculum. At the primary level, students are made comfortable with pre numeracy skills, match the column, comparing & sorting (Jurdak, 2016).  At the P1 level, the students would be introduced with the Foundation of mathematics & new concepts of the same. The main aim at the primary level is to inculcate the students with an analytical attitude, metacognition, processes & concepts to solve the mathematical problems.

 The tool can be used to show the counting of numbers which plays a role in numeracy operation

A nice mathematics lesson needs to have learning aids that are relevant to the topic of focus. The teacher also is required to teach in accordance to the correct ethics and should always work on helping all the students, the weak, the average and the well performing ones. The lesson should not be discriminative in any way. It should be focused on bringing out the practicality as per what happens in the real life scenarios (Berta, Bellotti, van der Spek & Winkler, 2017).

 Lessons should apply the concepts and if possible, the teacher should get out and organize for field trips that are relevant to the topics handled in class. It is thus important for teachers to help students in the coverage of the finer concepts especially the elementary topics so as to set a pace for a firm foundation for the learners. Mathematics should be integrated in everyday life so as to make it friendly and easy for the learners if there is anything to go by in the future (Clements, Fuson & Sarama, 2017). All in all, delivery of the content should base on the curriculum and the settings strategies for the exams.

The Role of Teachers in Mathematics Teaching

References

Berta, R., Bellotti, F., van der Spek, E., & Winkler, T. (2017). A tangible serious game approach to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In Handbook of Digital Games and Entertainment Technologies (pp. 571-592). Springer Singapore.

Bradley, R. H., & Corwyn, R. F. (2016). Home Life and the Development of Competence in Mathematics: Implications of Research with the HOME Inventory. In Early Childhood Mathematics Skill Development in the Home Environment (pp. 29-49). Springer International Publishing.

Cankaya, O., & LeFevre, J. A. (2016). The Home Numeracy Environment: What Do Cross-Cultural Comparisons Tell Us About How to Scaffold Young Children’s Mathematical Skills?. In Early Childhood Mathematics Skill Development in the Home Environment (pp. 87-104). Springer International Publishing.

Clements, D. H., Fuson, K. C., & Sarama, J. (2017). The research-based balance in early childhood mathematics: A response to Common Core criticisms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 40, 150-162.

Cohrssen, C., & Church, A. (2017). Mathematics Knowledge in Early Childhood: Intentional Teaching in the Third Turn. In Children’s Knowledge-in-Interaction (pp. 73-89). Springer Singapore.

Björklund, C., & Ahlskog-Björkman, E. (2017). Approaches to teaching in thematic work: early childhood teachers’ integration of mathematics and art. International Journal of Early Years Education, 25(2), 98-111.

Feldman, N. (2016). Direct Instruction in a Problem Based Learning Environment: A Multiple-Case Study of How the Pedagogical Beliefs of Mathematics Teachers Impact Learning (Doctoral dissertation, Northcentral University).

Felton-Koestler, M. D., Sutherland, E., & Tracy, N. (2016). Supporting Prospective Teachers in Using Mathematics to Understand Our World. Special Issue Mathematics Education: Through the Lens of Social Justice..

Fung, D., Kutnick, P., Mok, I., Leung, F., Lee, B. P. Y., Mai, Y. Y., & Tyler, M. T. (2017). Relationships between teachers’ background, their subject knowledge and pedagogic efficacy, and pupil achievement in primary school mathematics in Hong Kong: An indicative study. International Journal of Educational Research, 81, 119-130

Guthormsen, A. M., Fisher, K. J., Bassok, M., Osterhout, L., DeWolf, M., & Holyoak, K. J. (2016). Conceptual integration of arithmetic operations with real-world knowledge: Evidence from event-related potentials. Cognitive science, 40(3), 723.

Hagg, A., Hegger, F., & Plöger, P. (2016). On Recognizing Transparent Objects in Domestic Environments Using Fusion of Multiple Sensor Modalities. arXiv preprint arXiv:1606.01001.

Hunt, T. E., Bhardwa, J., & Sheffield, D. (2017). Mental arithmetic performance, physiological reactivity and mathematics anxiety amongst UK primary school children. Learning and Individual Differences.

Jurdak, M. (2016). Learning Real-World Problem Solving in School Mathematics: A Multiple-Perspective Framework. In Learning and Teaching Real World Problem Solving in School Mathematics (pp. 167-180). Springer International Publishing.

Laracy, S. D., Hojnoski, R. L., & Dever, B. V. (2016). Assessing the Classification Accuracy of Early Numeracy Curriculum-Based Measures Using Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve Analysis. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 41(3), 172-183.

Lee, J., & Pant, M. D. (2017). Analyses of children’s mathematics proficiency from ECLS-K 1998 and 2010 cohorts: Why early mathematics?. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 18(1), 99-103.

Mazzocco, M. (2016). Mathematics Awareness Month: Why Should Pediatricians be Aware of Mathematics and Numeracy?. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 37(3), 251-253.

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