Mathematical Beliefs

I found that throughout the articles Why teachers matter by Merrilyn Goos and The importance of mathematics teachers’ beliefs by Kim Beswick, the authors both stressed on the fact that a teachers beliefs in mathematics influence how they teach. I strongly agree that how I feel about mathematics will rub off on how I behave in my classroom. It would be evident to my students if I did not like mathematics as my enthusiasm for the subject would be lacking. Knowing what I am talking about also relates to wanting to teach mathematics, I cannot expect my students to learn something  I do not understand in the first place, I would come across as a fraud. I need to understand the material clearly, but be critical of what my students are learning because I do not want them to be misled. But my students also cannot expect me to know everything as I hope to learn from them as well throughout our classes. Learning from each other can be extremely beneficial for both my students and me. Throughout my experiences in mathematics I have seen mathematics as being fun — not necessarily important — but fun. However, as I grew up I started to realize that mathematics was actually quite important in my life. I started to realize that what I was learning was benefitting my life in the “real world”. Being fortunate enough to have amazing mathematic  teachers, I did not see what some of the students saw in Goos’ article (page 10). They were not mean and only teaching mathematics because they had to, they wanted to be there as much as I did. It was through their influence that I seen that it is extremely important for a mathematics teacher to share their beliefs and values of mathematics explicitly with their students so that they know upfront why they are learning the material. I do not think that my students need to necessarily believe in my personal believes on mathematics, but I think they would understand my enthusiasm of mathematics more clearly if they knew my beliefs. In the end all I want for my students is for them to see the passion I have for mathematics and in order to do that I need to be upfront with them on why I think mathematics is so important to learn.

Here are five of my mathematical beliefs:

  1. I believe that mathematics should be taught differently throughout the semester. It should not all consist of one strategy, but should be mixed up to engage your students.
  2. I believe that mathematics is necessary in all students lives. They should engage in it every day so that it stays relevant and fresh.
  3. I believe mathematics needs to be more than just about grades. Students need to see the importance of mathematics in their lives.
  4. I believe that as a future teacher I need to help guide my students learning in mathematics when they do not understand it clearly.
  5. I believe that I need to take an interest in my students learning of mathematics and know how they feel personally about mathematics.
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