Creating a Mathematics Environment

Over at Math Hub, Jennifer Chintala, in Top 10 Ways to Strengthen Classroom Math Instruction,offers some strong tips for math educators.   Building on Chintala’s piece, I would go a step farther and add a short addendum to her first suggestion: Create a mathematics environment

An important strategy in strengthening mathematics instruction is establishing an environment where students are comfortable asking questions, undaunted by problem-solving activities, and secure in the belief that even some mistakes may have some redeeming instructional value.  A mathematics classroom should be non-threatening to all students. Their interaction and discussion about problem solving methods may often reveal alternative creative processes, processes and methods that may yield correct conclusions.  Alternative methods of solving problems offer opportunities for large-group or small-group discussions as to why certain methods work and others don’t.  Such dialogue is important for students to develop their understanding of numeracy, patterns, logic, and spatial reasoning.

In the same way that  adults learn through mistakes, students discover important facts through trial and error and discussion.  A mathematics educator that provides students with time for reflection on arithmetic processes and patterns in logic and geometry will create a mathematics classroom environment that improves mathematics vocabulary and stimulates interest in real problem-solving activities.  That’s what makes learning mathematics fun!

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