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Mathematics is usually the most international of all the curriculum subjects, and the understanding of this issue influences majorly on the decision making in all the areas from private, civil and the social aspects. Maths education is a key to the increase of the post school and the citizenship opportunities of the children today. In the present, as in the past many children struggle with mathematics and they are usually disaffected as they continuously encounter the obstacles to aspect of engagement. (Aunie & Niemivirta, 2010) The numeracy skills are significant for all the children to develop. Without this components, the modern life becomes almost to the impossible to live. More often there is disagreement about how to approach the learning, and how this aspect should be introduced to the children. Sometimes when we think of the numeracy, we often think of the school rather not in the school setting and the teaching methods that are based on the rote learning and memorization of the concepts. Having the positive attitudes and the competencies in the numeracy of mathematics is essential for successful learning of the children. (Aunie & Niemivirta, 2010)The foundation of this jurisdiction is usually built at the early childhood. As the kids play at the shopping home corner, using the money and the cash register, they start to begin to engage in the counting, addition and subtraction and the various mathematical concepts. (Austin & Howson, 1979)Such experiences allow the children to develop their numeracy abilities at their pace. There are various theories of the mathematical learning and the understanding which are suited for the teaching; some of these are behaviorism, Piaget, Constructivism, socio-culturalism and the theory of the embodied mathematics. On this essay, it will look at the socio-culturalism theory for the learning and the teaching of mathematics. It will explain why this method is best suited than the others learning theories. Besides, it would show why the teaching and the learning of the maths have left rehearsal today, and focused more as being playfulness, creativity and having fun for the children.
The essence of selecting this theory of learning mathematics is because it is a student-centered pedagogy that they learn through the experiences of solving the problem. They learn to apply the thinking strategies and also the knowledge domain. The essence of this theory is to help the children to develop the flexible knowledge, the skills to solve the problem and have a learning that is initiated by them individually. More so they can develop these collaborative skills by being motivated on what they are doing.
On this theory was developed by a man named Vygotsky and over the years his work has gained a lot of recognition in the education of the mathematics. His theory states that the development of the intelligence of the students results from the interaction of the world and the speech, the social interaction with others, and the cooperative activity of the social world. (Austin & Howson, 1979) The children use the language to build on the cognitive tools that each has the conscious control over. The roles of the teacher are substantially centered to the utilization of this theory in that they should convey all the relationship that exists between the signs and the meaning of those signs portrayed by the children. According to the author he described a development that is referred to as Zone of Proximal that is essentially the distance between the elaboration of the child and their level of the potential development- that is the level of working with the adults. (Clarke, 2001) On this zone it allows the adult to be the tool holder meaning; to have the conscious control of the various mathematical concepts, for the child until they can internalize on the external knowledge. Thus, this all process is referred to as the scaffolding. On the comparison to other theories of Piaget; Vygotsky’s theory stipulates that the child has an active role in the learning. (Mercer & Sams, 2006)Therefore, the notion of the child needs to internalize the external knowledge is constructive. Another different that can be observed to Piaget’s theory is on the role of the teacher, implying that the Piaget’s do not address teaching correctly. The theory tends to exaggerate the view of the child construction understanding on their positions which should be done in the isolation. The behaviorism theory seeks to explain on the observable interactions with the learner to the environment and no interfering anything. In learning mathematics, there should be interaction with others example through activity or play. This theory greatly discourages the aspect of learning through interaction, just by observation. In today times, the learning process has changed, and the children need to play, have fun and be creative. As a comparison to constructivism seek that the knowledge of a child is primarily constructed in the setting of the environment, with social-culturalism, there is a need for the social interaction in the world and the speech, and also the cooperative activity is the critical component of the social world (Mercer & Sams, 2006). This how to develop the cognitive tools by interacting with the environment through playing, and being creative.
The subject of mathematics in its pure sense is an abstraction. The use of the math has been a powerful tool in describing and prediction of the events in the world around us. The ability of the mathematics to model the effectively in the reality has made many scholars formulates a various fun model to make it more interactive in the school. (Aunie & Niemivirta, 2010) In today, long are the days the subject used to be a rehearsal and memorizing of the concepts. There are various reasons today as to why teacher have left the rehearsals method and adopted the fun loving, and creative ones in the teaching. The use of teaching with these new method has been found to be useful as the intermediaries between the real world and the world of mathematics. Such methods tend to promote the problem-solving skills to the children by providing a vehicle in which these children can build on the model of the real life daily situations. (Austin & Howson, 1979)The use of these fun method are found to be more abstract oriented than the actual situation but yet, less abstract than the formal symbol concept of the subject.
Another aspect is that playing is critical elements more so in the early childhood curriculum of the children and the pedagogy. (Austin & Howson, 1979)It is a vehicle for the learning purposes in which the children can demonstrate their learning outcome and help also scaffold the learning of the other children. The teachers today strive as much to promote various playing activities while teaching maths to facilitate on the children mathematical thinking ability to solving the puzzles. In schools now there are interest centers around the classroom of maths programs. (Clarke, 2001)Some of these are; puzzles, boxes, and drawing materials. The children are assigned each activity, and the teacher observes their ability to tackle the situation. The use of such material promote mathematical thinking of the children rather they would not focus on the rehearsals of the concepts but do them practically.
The essence of play and have fun in the class is characterized by the non-linear aspect of what if the approach to thinking of the child. (Mercer & Sams, 2006) In this sense, there would be multiple end points or the outcomes that are possible to a given situation. In essence, the aspect of playing or creativity creates various situations, where there is no single right answer.
The use of these methods gives the child the ownership and the control in the initiation of that particular activity. In an example, the child who is immersed in the block play can create physical and conceptual space so as to determine the direction and the outcome of the game. When the child keeps others out of the play, he exerts the concept of control and competence. On this method, it helps to create individuals who are thinkers, ability and full of power. The aspect of the mathematic problem would not be hard to tackle since they have developed the problem-solving skills from the early childhood and it is fun to handle them (Clarke, 2001).
It is no secret that the face of the education has changed insignificantly over the past few years. The teachers across the world are working hard to equip the children with the skills that are required in the 21st Century world. There are a lot of argument that the mathematics is significantly becoming important in our society. It is evident that the pervasive technology is there in our times are and would continue to exist on the sustainability basis. These developing technologies to be mathematically competent. There is the need to insist on the flexibility and adaptability to the changing technology and to achieve this the educators must provide the learning environment that encourages the aspects of critical thinking, communication, the problem-solving skills and the global awareness. Some of the current strategies the educators are using to prepare the children in the 21st Century in learning of mathematics are; the use of the integrated technology, the use of the cooperative learning structures that encompasses on children structured approach, so as to encourage interaction among the children.
Aunie, P., & Niemivirta, M. (2010). Predicting children's mathematica performance in grade one by early numeracy. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(5), 427-435.
Austin, J.L., & Howson, A.G. (1979). Language and mathematical education. Educational studies in mathematics, 10(2), 161-197.
Clarke, D. M. (2001). Understanding, assessing and developing young children's mathematical thinking: Research as a powerful tool for professional growth. Numeracy and beyond, 1, 9-26.
Mercer, N., & Sams, C. (2006). Teaching children how to use language to solve maths problem. Language and Education, 20(6), 507-528.
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