Teaching to Learn vs. Teacing Math
I teach so students learn to learn. I don’t just teach what they study in school. I teach them how to think so they can use it in anything they learn. I teach them to become independent of me as a teacher.
Teaching math is not just about “math”. It’s about many other factors and dimensions because of the specific, and demanding, nature of mathematics. Unlike other subjects, if there are gaps in knowledge, they come up at some point, although often not understood to be the real problem. If there is faulty reasoning, it comes out. If there is lack of understanding of concepts, it comes out.
Teaching math involves understanding how the student thinks, and then helping him/her to reshape thinking. It involves understanding how the student learns, and shaping the lesson to his/her way of learning. It involves teaching now just methods (easy) but abstract concepts; concepts that took mathematicians hundreds and thousands of years to develop, and are NOT taught in school at all (my favorite question: ask your child what zero means – there are more than one answer). And, of course, it does involve teaching methods, but those methods should be ones that are easy to use, easy to remember, and are easy to remember. They can only be so, however, if they follow the logic of the concepts.
Surprisingly, and never taught (to the best of my knowledge) – math is a lot about decision making. One of the main reasons students don’t do well in math is the way they make decisions. It is an element math teachers are unaware of and therefore ignore. My Word Problems book shows how, with the right decision making process, all word problems become EASY (yes, very easy actually).
Finally, it is also about emotional and psychological state. None of us lives in a void, and neither do students. Sense of confidence (or lack of), fears, joy, stress, and all other emotional and psychological elements factor strongly in how students learn. Each student has its own mixture, which changes all the time. It is important to create a learning environment in which students feel and think positive, and instill it in them so they can carry it within them afterwards.
Read the rest, and when you decide that you want your child to consider math fun, simple and easy, and to excel in it – buy the books, and see what happens.