A) What is my perspective on the importance of teacher’s beliefs about what mathematics is, what it means to know and do mathematics, and why mathematics is important to learn?
After reading the article “Why Teachers Matter” by Goos and “The Importance of Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs” by Beswick, I feel that these articles really supported my thoughts and understanding of how it is important to have and be aware of your teaching beliefs about what mathematics is, what it means to know and do mathematics, and why mathematics is important to learn (and basically just in general as well!). I believe that a teacher’s view on what mathematics is has a huge affect on how and what that teacher teaches his/her students and how his/her students will interpret this. For example, reflecting back on my high school math class, it was extremely obvious of how my teacher thought of math: she felt that math was numbers and computations and finding the right answer. A few examples include: you could see this in the way she taught: when presenting us with new information, she wouldn’t explain how the equation or theory worked, she just introduced it to us then went over practice problems as a class. When marking exams and tests, she liked to give a lot of multiple choice where the answer was only being assessed rather than the process and steps of how the students arrived at the answer. Those were just a few examples of how I feel her beliefs affected her teaching, but how this affected me as a student was that it caused me to think that math was just something that I would always need outside of school and it was just for computations and final answers. I carried this belief up until I got to university when I was shown a different way of thinking about math which is now the way I prefer to think of math. So clearly, a teacher’s belief about math affects many factors in a classroom and can even change how a student feels about a subject. My argument can further be backed by the quote in the Goos reading which states: “evidence from a multitude of research studies shows that students’ mathematics learning and their dispositions towards mathematics are indeed influenced – for better or for worse – by the teaching that they experience at school.” Now I know this won’t be the case for all students, but I know my teachers have had a huge impact on how I viewed mathematics, and other subjects!
B) What is my mathematics “creed”
1) I believe that in mathematics, the process and steps of solving a problem is more important than the answer itself.
2) I believe that mathematics teachers should try to make learning math real, engaging, thought-provoking and authentic, for example, by using methods and questions that have real life meaning for them.
3) I believe that mathematics teachers should have a more student centered approach to teaching mathematics.
4) I believe that if a mathematics teacher has a strong passion for the subject and has certain values and beliefs about the subject, than this will translate into their teaching and many students will come to believe this as well.
5) I believe mathematics is important not only for real world applications, but also for developing cognitive skills that can benefit students both in school and out.