## How I Believe Children Learn Mathematics

Children start learning mathematics right from the time they develop their senses. Simple mathematics principles are learnt as soon as children begin interacting with their environment. Children can learn mainly through the use of manipulatives. Manipulatives can be defined as simple objects that can be rearranged in order and moved around. Abstract mathematical concepts, therefore, develop when the children use their senses to construct and move around simple objects. Examples of manipulatives are base ten blocks. These blocks can be arranged in groups of ten. Another example is counting of small sticks that can be arranged in some groups. The children learn simple mathematics principles such as addition and subtraction through the use of manipulatives. Another means through which children learn mathematics is through the use procedural and conceptual learning. Procedural learning entails the use of simple algorithms such as addition and subtraction to solve simple problems (Reys et al., 2014). These simple algorithms are found in elementary mathematics books. Conceptual learning entails understanding mathematics principles rather than applying them to solve problems. For example, children can understand how driving is done. Such processes involve steps and reasoning. Another is solving puzzles and playing computer games or mobile games. These processes involve cognitive skills that help children to learn mathematics.

## How Teaching Mathematics Can Facilitate Student Learning Through Instructions

The mode of instructing children is very critical to the success of teaching. Teaching mathematics requires simple and clear instructions (Clements & Sarama, 2007). Instead of just playing the role of an evaluator and an instruction giver, the teacher should be more connected to the students. The teacher can take a role of selecting certain mathematics questions and solving them step by step. The teachers should take the form of being leaners themselves, not just ordering and instructing students to solve the questions. Teachers can instruct students on how to solve specific mathematics questions and then engage in an interactive session where students help to solve some of the questions on the board. By so doing, the teachers will be able to enact the instructions and inculcate learning in the children successfully. Teachers should plan on the types of pedagogical issues that should be handled by children. For example, when teaching kindergarten students on how to arrange small boxes into a small tower, the teacher should first instruct the children on how to arrange the boxes. The teacher will then engage in a practical session that will give children to arrange the boxes one on one with the teacher. In so doing, instructions will be understood and teaching would be effective.

## My Beliefs in the Assessment of Students Learning

Assessment of student learning is very critical to encouraging and improving low performing students. Some assessment techniques discourage low performing students completely. For example, when teachers become to data-driven and need the statistics of the lowest performing students compared to the good performers, students who perform poorly tend to be discouraged. When teachers are required to report the achievement of the students periodically, the poor performers will perceive it negatively. They will tend to lose confidence in themselves since they always get compared to the good performers. Negatively performing students should not be exposed and compared to the good performing students. They should instead be encouraged without having to pin their names on the notice boards and board meetings. Assessment needs to take a supportive approach without judging the achievement of students. Teachers can find out some of the things the poor students know and what they do not understand. They can then prepare more tutorials about those areas the students don't understand well. This mode of assessment will give students the confidence to achieve.

## My Beliefs on Use of Technology for Teaching Mathematics

Technology, if used correctly, can help students to learn mathematics quickly (Gulek & Demirtas, 2005). The power of technology can be harnessed to help students develop interest and become proficient in learning math. For example, use of interesting computer games that require students to solve some problems to win can help a great way in helping students learn mathematics. Successful teaching entails the incorporation of suitable technology into students learning environments. The teachers can use interactive tools online to help students in learning mathematical concepts. Students can be encouraging to watch some carefully selected videos online that will help them develop an interest in mathematics. Technology can, therefore, boost mathematics learning abilities if it is used correctly.

## My Main Concerns Struggles and Obstacles and How I Overcame Them

Teaching mathematics came with quite some challenges. One of the main obstacles that I encountered is trying to make students interested in mathematics. Some students simply lacked interest and had a very poor attitude towards mathematics. I tried to overcome this by encouraging the students to use specific mobile games and to solve simple puzzles as homework and report their performance. This seemed to work for some students. Another struggle was trying to assess students who score low grades without having to announce their names in public. Shaming the students would only discourage them. I helped the low scoring students by organizing for more lessons on those areas in which they failed. Some of them could still not improve though. I am still looking for a better way to help the students improve their performances.

## Realizations I Made About Mathematics This Semester

I discovered that mathematics is a language just like English and French. Some students take time to learn the language while others learn very quickly. I realized that students who learn mathematics very quickly understand the instructions given faster than those who take some time to learn. The students who follow instructions very well and show some organization are more likely to learn mathematics quickly than those who do not pay attention to instructions. I discovered that when low mathematics performers are instructed differently from the rest, they are more likely to learn quickly.I also realized that computer games and mobile games help students to develop an interest in mathematics. Those who played games performed better. Therefore, mathematics should be made as interactive as possible to facilitate learning.

## My Expectations, Believes and Attitudes Towards Mathematics Teaching and Learning Changed After Taking

ECE415/515.

Some of the expectations I had were that mathematics teaching would involve the use of elementary books. However, I discovered that elementary mathematics books are just examples of teaching aids. Children can learn mathematics by being taught to play games and ride bicycles for example. This unit opened my eyes and introduced me to a more interesting world of mathematics, that which involves all our daily activities that involve processes. Previously, I believed that teaching mathematics would be a daunting task. However, after going through ECE415/515, I realized that mathematics teaching can be an interesting experience for both teachers and students. When teachers communicate effectively and interactively with their students, then it will be easier for both the students to understand, mathematics and for the teachers to teach. This course helped me to be more focused and interested, and I look forward to meeting my students.Mathematics teaching is not as dull as I believed earlier after all.

## How Course Changed Me

This course changed me in various ways. One of the ways is that it helped me to understand how I can interact with kindergarten and elementary students. Forming close friendships with students as this course taught me, helps in that you can become more approachable by students who need to ask questions they have not understood well. This is a critical factor in the teaching of mathematics. I should appear in a mathematics classroom not just as an instructor and an evaluator but also as a friend and a fellow learner with the students. Reasoning with the students helps to find ways of teaching them mathematics better. Understanding how students learn mathematics is another area of this course that transformed me. I learned that math is developed naturally by every human being, right from the time they develop their senses. The course also helped me to learn how to give instructions to students in such a way that they are understood. I developed a better attitude to teaching mathematics. There was a section in this course that trained me on how to use alternative means of teaching especially through the use of appropriate technology. The course helped me to understand simple games that can be used to teach kindergarten students. It trained me to deliver instructions and to evaluate students effectively. The course helped me to acquire critical teaching skills which I am going to apply when I begin teaching.

## My Current Attitudes, Expectations, and Beliefs Towards Mathematics Teaching

I believe that effective evaluation of students helps them to perform better. Good evaluation strategies are the keys to teaching mathematics. Students who are judged based on their low-test scores are more likely to perform very poorly in future. This is because they will always doubt their abilities everybody regards them as poor performers. Therefore, expect that all my students should be treated equally an encouraged equally despite their performance. However, I believe that low performers can be encouraged to perform well by trying to find out the areas in which they have failed and focusing more on teaching those areas again. I have also developed a good attitude towards teaching mathematics to students. I have understood how to give instructions. Therefore, I believe and expect that teaching mathematics will be more comfortable if I use appropriate means of instructing my students. Understanding the fact that teaching mathematics is more of interactive learning has helped me to be a better teacher. I would encourage my students to learn mathematics through the use of interactive session of question and answer. Mathematics is interesting when there are rewards. I will always reward my students if they show some improvement as I believe this would help them to learn mathematics.

## References

Reys, R. E., Lindquist, M., Lambdin, D. V., & Smith, N. L. (2014). Helping children learn mathematics. John Wiley & Sons.

Gulek, J. C., & Demirtas, H. (2005). Learning with technology: The impact of laptop use on student achievement. The journal of technology, learning and assessment, 3(2).

Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2007). Early childhood mathematics learning. Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning, 1, 461-555.

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