Whether you’re an experienced veteran when it comes to teaching math or just starting out in the field of education, you’re likely already aware that no two students are the same. Differences in learning types, home environments, personal interests and cognitive abilities among your students mean that no single method of instruction is going to suit all of your pupils perfectly. With this in mind, teachers need to be constantly reevaluating the way that they present new concepts in mathematics to their students. Still, some methods tend to be more topically applicable than others. Take a look at these instructional strategies for mathematics instruction and consider implementing them into your classroom.
Always Offer Visual Representation
According to Parent Center Hub, one of the most valuable mathematical instructional strategies that teachers can use is to always offer visual representations of new concepts. This is particularly applicable for teachers of younger students, as these pupils may require multiple introductions to a given concept to fully understand it. For example, when teaching lower level math such as basic addition and subtraction, you could use number lines and counting chips to explain your lessons. This will allow your students to visualize a problem before attempting to solve it, a tactic that can translate to more advanced mathematical concepts in higher grade levels. The earlier you begin using visual tactics, the more your students will benefit later on.
While this is somewhat more abstract than what teachers might usually consider an instructional strategy, preaching perseverance in mathematical lessons can be integral to furthering student understanding. In a recent tweet, Education Nation expanded on the parallels between developing perseverance in students and academic success.
— Education Nation (@educationnation) April 1, 2015
Math lessons, more than most subjects, tend to build on prior knowledge and learning. With this in mind, it’s important to try to present new math lessons as part of a linear progression. When students face difficult math concepts, encouragement is integral to their success, but it’s also important to preach the merits of perseverance. For example, show them how lessons will tie into skills taught down the line or how a math concept is applicable in the real world.
Preaching perseverance in mathematical lessons can help further student understanding.
Allow for Individual Participation During Group Instruction
While group instruction is a wonderful tool in any academic area, it can be limiting in that it may allow for some students to become unfocused. According to MathWire, using methods that allow for individual participation during group instruction is extremely beneficial in math education. For example, you may want to use whiteboards during group lectures to check understanding. Instead of having one student come to the front of the class to solve a problem, you can introduce a topic and then have all students try the problem at their desk on their whiteboard.