Session 3 : 14-08-2013

The third lesson provided me with lots of significant theories that stressed the various approaches in teaching Mathematics to children.
I would like to reflect upon the three main ways that teachers could adapt when teaching this subject.

Firstly, teachers should allow children to explore the materials. They could scaffold and model their teaching. But it is important to note that explaining to children is not a good strategy to help children to learn.

Secondly,Teachers could use Bruner’s CPA approach which states that it is best for children to learn with concrete objects first, followed by pictorial then abstract.

Jerome Bruner’s theory of “CPA approach benefits all students but has been shown to be particularly effective with students who have mathematics difficulties, mainly because it moves gradually from actual objects through pictures and then to symbol”

(Jordan, Miller, & Mercer, 1998).

Thirdly, teachers should provide variation of the same task. Dienes’ theory relates specifically to teaching and learning of mathematics rather than teaching and learning in general. It consists of four principles:

1. Dynamic principle: Preliminary, structured activities using concrete materials should be provided to give necessary experiences from which mathematical concepts can be built eventually. Later on, mental activities can be used in the same way.

2. Constructivity Principle: In structuring activities, construction of concepts should always proceed analysis.

3. Mathematical Variability Principle: Concepts involving variables should be learnt by experiences involving the largest possible number of variables.

4. Perceptual Variability or Multiple Embodiment Principle: In order to allow as much scope as possible for individual variations in concept-formation and to induce children to gather the mathematical essence of an abstraction, the same conceptual structure should be presented in the form of as many perceptual equivalents as possible.

(Adapted from Dienes, Z.P, 1971 Building up Mathematics,4th ed.)

With the above methods, children will learn to subitize when given the opportunities whether its intentionally or unintentionally.

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