Reply To: 1.2 – Math Misconceptions: What would you do?
Mathematics is computation. – As a student, I thought this was very much the case. Math included learning various operations and how to come to a correct answer using those operations, procedures, and strategies. As a teacher, I know this is not the case. Mathematics is more problem solving than basic computation.
Math is just memorizing rules. – As a student, I remember learning a bunch of different “tricks” for memorizing the operations/procedures/formulars/steps in math. As a math teacher, I try to avoid only teaching those tricks, at least when initially introducing a topic. I want to give the students the proper strategies to solve the problem without those tricks, first.
You are either good or bad at math. – I’m totally guilty of calling myself “not a math person” when I was a student, and even in my adult life. As a math teacher, I know all students are math people!
Math is just about getting the right answer. – I absolutely agreed with this statement as a student, and even remember my friends who considered themselves “math people” saying that they enjoyed math because you could reach a correct answer and there was only one right answer. As a math teacher, I know math is about problem solving and the strategies/reasoning/understanding it takes to get there.
Math is creative. – I definitely had a hard time seeing this as a student. I don’t have very many memories using modeling and working with manipulatives when doing math, but as a teacher, this is the majority of our math instruction which gives students the opportunity to be creative when working with math concepts.
Math is exploration. – As a student, no. Math was just about numbers and computation and operations. As a teacher, absolutely! We have built in tasks in our curriculum to give students the opportunity to explore various ways to model math word problems and math equations.
There are many ways to problem solve. – As a student, I think I probably would have agreed with this statement. However, when it came to math (especially in higher grades like high school), I’m not sure I remember being given many opportunity to vary how we problem solve. As a teacher, I know there are SO many ways to problem solve! The students are explicitly taught multiple strategies to do so.
Mistakes help our learning. – I was one of those students who got really down on myself for making mistakes because I typically did pretty well in school. So, I didn’t view mistakes as necessarily helpful for my own learning because I got really down about them. As a teacher, I know that when students make mistakes, this is a great way for them to grow, learn, and better understand a given concept.