Philosophy of Mathematics Education
Township of Ocean Schools
To function effectively as citizens and consumers, all students need to learn to enjoy and appreciate the value of mathematics and develop the mathematical skills they must have for varied educational and career options. Strong foundations in number sense and numerical operations form a basis for the successful use of mathematics.
Students best acquire mathematics skills when they are engaged in activities that enable them to discover, understand, and apply mathematical concepts. When students are challenged to use mathematics in meaningful ways, they develop their reasoning and problem-solving skills and come to realize the usefulness of mathematics in their lives.
Students preparing for careers in the information-based economy of the twenty-first century must be able to solve real problems, reason effectively, and make logical connections. To enable all students to gain the necessary mathematical skills, understandings and attitudes, instruction needs to focus on the whys and hows of mathematical learning which are as follows:
1. Pose and solve real world problems.
2. Effectively communicate mathematical ideas.
3. Make connections within mathematics and between mathematics and other areas.
4. Provide opportunities for active student involvement.
5. Use of technology.
When math is taught in a problem-solving spirit, students are interested in what they are doing and are more likely to understand the material. Instructional strategies that allow students to talk and write about math helps to clarify and solidify their thinking and develop confidence in themselves as mathematical thinkers.
Mathematics learning is not dependent on special abilities but can be achieved by all students: by using organizational strategies such grouping, cooperative learning, individualized and whole class instruction; by differentiating instructional strategies; and by developing achievable high-level expectations.
Students will develop positive attitudes toward mathematics when they are taught in a supportive, developmentally appropriate environment, when all students’ mathematical learning embodies the notion that engagement in mathematics is essential and that where decision-making, risk-taking, perseverance, self-assessment, and self-confidence are frequently keys to success.