How Many Years Does It Take To Becomea Math Teacher What Skills Should a Teacher of Mathematics Teach His/Her Students?

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What Skills Should a Teacher of Mathematics Teach His/Her Students?

Before the advent of universal secondary education, the mathematics teacher had a select group of students who, in terms of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, were mathematically logical thinkers. Therefore, there was no real need for the Maths teacher to change the pedagogue of “chalk and talk” and lots of practice exercises.

But the second half of the 20th century saw most students progress to secondary schools. Soon, most students went on to complete their secondary education and most continued to study Mathematics. This meant that these students had a variety of learning styles that we could equate to Gardner’s multiple intelligences.

This meant that Mathematics teachers had to expand their pedagogy and teach new skills to help all students in their mathematical development. At the time, I was the head of a mathematics department in a large school going through the introduction of new curricula designed to bring the teaching of mathematics into a position where it could cater for these different learning styles .

The curriculum content was being modernized. The use of computers, scientific and graphing calculator along with internet was made mandatory. This got me thinking about the additional skills my students needed to develop. Most likely, other teachers of other subjects will also want to develop them.

Another school’s request to explain how my department dealt with the change from 40-minute to 70-minute periods got me thinking about these skills. I discussed my list and got his acceptance in the workshop.

Below is a list of additional skills that I believe we as math teachers should strive to develop as soon as possible. (A short explanation can be included with each skill.)

They are:

  • Communication skills. One aspect of some new curricula is the introduction of problems in unfamiliar contexts that require the solutions to be fully communicated.

  • Calculator skills. The calculator allows the student to make the necessary calculations quickly. Students need to be taught checking and estimating skills to facilitate their correct use. Graphing calculators have built-in programs that allow for more in-depth real-life problems.

  • Computer skills.

  • Internet skills.

  • Skills to concentrate effectively in class. This is important because there is less time spent teaching mathematics than in the past. This should incorporate skills to be a powerful listener.

  • Textbook skills. This is the student’s first option to consolidate learning in the classroom. The student must know how to use it best.

  • Study skills and homework.

  • Exam skills such as how to problem solve and how to develop an exam technique to help ensure the best results.

  • Problem solving/critical thinking skills. I

  • In high school, where life gets very busy, organizational skills.

These skills cannot be developed overnight. There must be a commitment from all Mathematics teachers to introduce it from the first day of a student’s secondary school life as the opportunity arises. Separate lessons on skills are not the best options. Introducing different skill ideas into day-to-day lessons is a better option, as the student will see it in an everyday event, not a made-up one.

What I have suggested here is in many ways a “Wish List”. If all mathematics teachers embrace the need for these skills, little by little, over the years, they will become a natural part of the student’s mathematics personality.

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