Before attending this module, I find that Mathematics a subject that is rigid and normally, I will follow the lesson plans to deliver the lessons accordingly. I did not have any idea on the Primary School Mathematics Curriculum framework as well as its rational. I have no idea that Mathematics can be taught in a ‘fun’ manner as I learnt through ‘drilling’ in my Primary years and maybe that is the reason why I do not like Mathematics since young.

After attending this module, I have gain insights on ways that we could make Mathematics interesting for children and Mathematics isn’t what I see as ‘boring’ and ‘rigid’. Mathematics is indeed an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person’s intellectual competence in logical reasoning, spatial visualization, analysis and abstract thought as children will develop numeracy, reasoning, thinking skills, and problem solving skills through the learning process. Mathematics is also a subject of enjoyment and fun. I feel that we, educators make a difference in the lives of the children and we also play a significant role whether the child likes or dislikes the subject. And hence, it is about time that we reflect on the ways we teach mathematics and how to let children have ‘fun’ and at the same time learn the concepts that we have plan instead of making them dislike ‘Mathematics’ the way I did.

I agree with Dr Yeap that we must constantly remind ourselves not to ‘spoon-feed’ children with answers but scaffold them by asking leading questions in order for them to look for ‘answers’ themselves and constantly reflect on our practices. Teachers should enhance children’s mathematics learning when they ask questions that provoke clarifications, extensions, and development of new understandings.

I agree with Dr Yeap that we must constantly remind ourselves not to ‘spoon-feed’ children with answers but scaffold them by asking leading questions in order for them to look for ‘answers’ themselves and constantly reflect on our practices. Teachers should enhance children’s mathematics learning when they ask questions that provoke clarifications, extensions, and development of new understandings.

Although my knowledge is still far from complete (due to the limited time that we have on this module), I now have a fuller picture on how to plan for developmentally appropriate activities for preschoolers to acquire and the practices to promote their understanding and most importantly, in a ‘fun’ manner so that children can learn the concepts and at the same time enjoy the process and eventually like this subject. I feel that this knowledge, however, is not yet in the hands of all preschool teachers in a form to effectively guide their teaching. It is not surprising then that many teachers who learn Mathematics through ‘drilling’ have the same initial mindset as mine and mathematics makes only fleeting, random appearances in their classrooms. Some may give mathematics adequate time in the curriculum but attempt to cover so many mathematical topics as they have to follow the curriculum.

I have learned that in planning for new investigations and activities, teachers should think of ways to engage children in revisiting concepts they have previously explored. Such experiences enable children to forge links between previously encountered mathematical ideas and new applications. (Spiral Curriculum-building on knowledge)

Apart from that, extended investigations will offer children excellent opportunities to apply mathematics as well as to develop independence, persistence, and flexibility in making sense of real-life problems. During the activities, children encounter many mathematical problems and questions and with teacher guidance and facilitation, they think about how to gather and record information and develop representations to help them in understanding and using the information and communicating theirs to others. Thus, educators need to plan for children’s in-depth involvement with mathematical ideas. Teachers should ensure that the mathematics experiences woven throughout the curriculum follow logical sequences, allow depth and focus, and help children move forward in knowledge and skills.

I have applied some hands-on and challenging activities which I have learnt in this module in my class and I am happy to see that the children are working together to problem solve and I could see their sense of satisfaction when they finally solved the problem. (This is how we as learners feel when we are trying to solve the problems in class.) Hence, I believe that it is up to the teachers to make “Mathematics come alive” to captivate children’s interest while teaching them concepts.

Children exploring with different ways to form "square" with tangrams |

I think preschool educators should relook in their curriculum so that they are inline with those in the Primary School Mathematics Framework. I believe most preschool educators are not familiar with the Primary Mathematics Curriculum framework as well as the rationale. It is time for us to reflect to see if we are teaching children sufficiently (building a strong foundation for The development of mathematical problem solving ability) or are we stuffing them with too much ‘surface’ information (learning a bit of here and there).

I feel that Mathematics is too important to be left to chance, and yet it must also be connected to children’s lives. In making all of these choices, effective teachers should build on children’s informal mathematical knowledge and experiences, always taking children’s cultural background and language into consideration and support children’s learning by thoughtfully and continually assessing all children’s mathematical knowledge, skills, and strategies. Using those information and insights gathered from assessment, teachers should plan and adapt teaching to help individual children to grasp the concepts.

Our role as a teacher is to facilitate children’s learning by letting them learn Mathematics by doing Mathematics. (Van De Walle et al, 2009, p.33). For children who cannot communicate ideas, our role as a teacher is to scaffold by modeling and using alternate medium to aid them. They should recognize that even young children invent their own mathematical ideas and strategies and that their ideas can be quite different from adults and thus it is important for us to constantly reflect on our teaching practices so that we could strengthen children’s problem-solving and reasoning processes. Opportunities should be given to children to allow self-exploration...

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