Teaching math can be as challenging as learning how to solve math problems. Even the simplest math concepts are often very complex and require skills, which have to be developed from scratch. Most teachers focus on covering content presented in math textbooks and often feel that there is no time for extra classes, which would present math as a fun subject. Those teachers, who struggle with making everyday classes more interesting for students, can certainly benefit from the following tips:
Make sure your students have a Voice
If your teaching method involves a lot of talking at students, no wonder they are not interested in the subject. Ideally, your students should be active for 50 percent of the time or more. Instead of explaining math problems by lecturing, engage your students more and stop every few minutes to ask questions, which your students can answer by themselves. This way your students can participate in the process of solving math problems, not only observe how you do it. Discuss math exercises together with your students and plan revise activities, which are more engaging for your students. Make sure that kids can practice solving math problems in groups and come up with their own ideas for the best solution. Typically, math teachers do not ask students for feedback, but this is a big mistake. Kids, who can express their opinions, doubts and needs are usually more engaged in studying. Researching students’ attitudes and needs will also help you evaluate your efforts and quickly adjust to your students’ requirements.
Solve real problems
Instead of solving math problems, which involve abstract objects, use more concrete examples. Children respond better to math exercises, which include things they know from their everyday experience, so you can, for example, use objects in the classroom to present children with new math problems to solve. Older students can also practice math by learning more about applications of the rules of mathematics in their everyday life. For example, you can discuss with your students the problem of measuring and reducing energy consumption, introduce a few different methods and check which is most effective. Use your imagination to come up with interesting ideas, which will help you keep high levels of engagement among your students.
Leave abstract Concepts for later
Math is typically portrayed as a science of abstraction and this is what most students struggle with. The younger your students are, the more difficult it will be for them to comprehend abstract problems and even adults learn better, if they are provided with a concrete representation of the abstract problem. This is why innovative math teaching methods, such as Singapore math, rely on concrete examples and pictorial representations, before introducing abstract techniques for solving math problems. If you want to make your math classes more engaging, include as many practical and concrete exercises, as you can. If you are not sure how to make your teaching more practical and concrete, check Singapore math classes for teachers. By introducing Singapore math techniques into your everyday teaching methods, you can turn your math classes into a fun activity for your students and achieve better results.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.