The biggest challenge that faces any teacher is how to teach effectively. This is true for all teachers but it is more important for mathematics teachers because most students who dislike mathematics is because of the mathematics teacher. The education establishment is responsible for outlining course goals. However; the teacher is responsible to design how the goals will be met.
The teacher’s first goal is to achieve effective teaching which is to make it easy for the students to understand the concepts. Effective teaching implies that there is a positive change in the student’s knowledge of the subject. There is a good algorithm that the teacher could follow to achieve this goal.
First the teacher should outline the syllabus and choose a suitable textbook. It is very important for a mathematics teacher to choose a good textbook. A lot of the students who dislike mathematics and dislike the mathematics teacher is because they do not understand. This is why it is crucial to choose an easy to understand, user friendly textbook.
Second the teacher should complete several examples on the board for every new concept or idea. This really has a good effect on allowing the student to follow up with the concepts. Explaining several concepts with out examples would most likely turn off students and decrease their concentration with the teacher.
The students should be allowed to ask as many questions as needed during the class. The teacher should show strong interest in their questions and that he cares a lot that they understand.
The teacher should make the class more exciting by introducing laboratory experiments using calculators. There are also many new innovative software calculators that would inspire the teacher to create many new exciting laboratory experiments.
Also playing mathematics games and solving mathematics puzzles would make the class more interesting. There should be some symbolic prizes for those who score high in the games or puzzles. For example those who score to a certain level will get red belt mathematics badges and those who do better will get black belt mathematics badges. Those who do bad get a smiling face badge that encourages the student to do better next time.
Next the students should be given flash cards to help them memorize formulas. These cards should be small enough to fit into their pockets. The students should be encouraged to carry them around to be able to review them many times through out the day.
Next the teacher should give regular quizzes in order to be able to sort the students and know who understands and who does not. Those who do poorly should be given a revision of concepts and then retested to check that they have improved and can continue with the rest of the class. Those who do well in quizzes should be given symbolic rewards.
The teacher should give the students mini projects that use their mathematics skills in solving some real life problems. Mathematics is a practical subject and is very important to our every day lives. Students should recognize in these projects just how important mathematics is to improving our lives. This in itself is enough to motivate students to study mathematics.
At the end of each course the students should be given a questionnaire that asks them about their opinion of the syllabus, how useful the course was, did they understand the concepts well, did they learn how to apply the material taught in this course to real life problems, did this course contribute to their liking mathematics more, and what are their suggestions to improve the course. This feedback should be taken into consideration to constantly improve the course.
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