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Words: 3296
Published: Oct 09, 2024
This research paper will focus on why Math is important in everyday life and my own experiences learning Math in America. Math is all around us so there is no way that we can escape it. Math helps students explain the largest concepts of the world and makes them better thinkers in the real world. As students take Math classes, either in middle school, high school or college, it helps them develop problem-solving skills. Students also learn how to become critical thinkers, which can be applicable to anything they are doing. My own experiences with Math began in Jordan where I struggled to learn basic problem-solving skills and continued more successfully when I moved to America. Today I aspire to become a Math teacher.
When I was growing up, I didn’t realize the benefits of learning Math. I thought that school would be difficult for me because of Math. I took many Math courses in middle school, high school and now in college. I thought that Math was the most complicated course ever. I lacked the problem-solving skills I needed to succeed. There was a time when I was about to drop out of school and go to work because of Math. When I was 15 years old, I started working in a supermarket in Jordan, and at that time I didn’t even know some basic Math concepts. I thought that I would only have to face Math in school, not knowing that Math would apply to my everyday life. My position in that job was working as a cashier, but I did not know working as a cashier would require me to have problem solving/Math skills. Not knowing the work-related Math concepts made it hard for me to be in that job. I made so many mistakes that if a customer bought something for five dollars, I would mess up and give them the same amount of money they gave me back. I performed so poorly at the cash register that the boss suggested that I work outside of the store and help a coworker there. Working in this job taught me the life lesson to learn Math because the problem-solving skills it teaches are important in life. The benefits of having basic Math/problem solving skills might be as simple as making change in a supermarket, or keeping track of expenses when shopping for groceries. Other benefits of Math/problem solving skills in everyday life include everything from keeping track of time and credit card expenses, to doing taxes, balancing a check book, knowing how to make investments.
Another benefit of learning Math is that develops critical thinking ability. In order for a person to find solutions to a mathematical problem; it is important that he or she go through a step by step process. It is not just a matter of getting the right answer for the mathematical problem but also understanding how to get the answer. I work as a teaching assistant in Yonkers and the teacher I am currently working with helps her students think logically. The teacher uses authentic assessments to measure the skills and the needs of her classroom. I like how the teacher focuses not only on helping her students to get the right answer, but how she asks the students once they have the right answer to explain how they got it and the steps they followed. The teacher would give the students incorrect answers and have the students break down the errors.
This is a great way of getting the students including me to be able to think critically. I have never seen this technique before and this is why students in her classrooms are succeeding. I believe most of students who take classes with her are able to do well on the Math common core exam. This goes to the idea that Math is not hard; it just depends on who teaches it. This is how a great teacher gets her students to think critically and use logical reasoning for Math/problem solving. But critical thinking and logical reasoning can be applied in many situations, for example, in shaping a persuasive argument or decision making. Evidence based thinking can help people analyze what’s happening around them including all kinds claims and news.
Most people learn Math in many different ways; for me Math wasn’t my favorite subject because of the way teachers in Jordan, my home country, taught it. The way Math is taught in Jordan is by using physical punishments. It is possible for anyone to make mistakes in anything because nobody is born perfect. Math requires a person to go through steps in order to get the correct results. Many students in Jordan used to make mistakes about numbers because teachers made it difficult for the students by using physical punishments. Any student who made mistakes with numbers would be punished. For this reason, Math was not my favorite. When I came to the United States, my dislike became a like because teachers in America teach better than in Jordan.
As a child in Jordan, I had tough teachers who used physical punishment. When I went back to school after the vacation Math became more difficult because of the way it was taught. Teachers didn’t care that students dropped out and learned everything on their own. I tried really hard to learn the subject on my own without any teacher’s help. Although I am from Jordan my father traveled to the United States in 1999. The reason that he travelled that he wanted to provide us with everything that my family needed. I spoke with my family and I told them that I wanted to go to another school or travel to another country. My father did not believe me when I told him; he said to me that I would have to work harder to do well in school. As the time passed, I received my report card and the grades were not good. I spoke with my father again, and I showed him my grades. After that, he started working on bringing my family to the U.S. In 2013, I came to United States when I was 16 years old. My dad put me in a school called Gorton High School. I enrolled there as a tenth grader. I took many subjects and the main one was Algebra. By that time, I had started getting more comfortable with the school and America in general because it takes time to adjust to a new country. As I adjusted, I started doing well in school especially in Math. The highest grade I used to get in Jordan was 65, but in America I started getting the highest grades like 90 and up. I took a state exam and I scored 85 on it; I was happy and proud.
The highest score for the Math state exam was 89 so you can say I was one of the top students who did well on it. My family were proud of me especially my father because he thought that I was not studying when I was in Jordan.
So here we can compare the difference between the school in Jordan and the school in America. Teachers here in America are amazing and want the students to learn not only in school but for life. Teachers in Jordan might not realize that teaching requires them to be patient and have a motivational style to provide their students with. Math is always unappreciated because the way people learn it. I understand that Math can be hard, but if a person understands the formula and learns it step by step, they will love it. It is always about how every person learns it. I always thank the teachers for everything they have done for me I appreciate that.
It is really important for teachers to have a strong relationship with the students. Students will never learn if teachers do not have strong connection with their students. In the future, I want to become a teacher, and I would make sure that every student is learning. I would say that Math can be hard at times, but having the right teacher can make a world of difference. I want my students to see that mathematics can help them better understand the world around them. I listed some interesting questions that should be answered in my research paper.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning Math? What are some techniques that teachers should use in Math class that would ensure that students are learning Math in a better way? How can teachers help students experience success in Math? How could a teacher get his or her students interested in the problem-solving process? How could a teacher challenge a slow learner and an advanced learner within the same class? Answering those questions requires knowledge about Math education.
Teaching mathematical problem solving to middle school students in Math, Technology Education, and special Education Classrooms.
This article compared the teaching of two groups of sixth-grade middle school students in Math problem-solving, technology education, and special education classrooms. “It consisted of 17 students with disabilities and 76 students without disabilities who were taught using either enhanced anchored instruction (EAI) or text-based instruction coupled with applied problems (TBI)” (Bottge 1). There are many advantages and disadvantages of learning Math in education particularly in the classroom. One of the advantages of learning Math is that math helps develop the ability to make students think logically. Bottge says “In mathematics, essential work skills include the ability to compute fractions and decimals, interpret tables and graphs, manipulate algebraic formulas, and solve problems with fellow workers” (Bottge 2). This shows that students do learn Math even students with disabilities learn it as long as they have right teachers for it. Teachers used additional tools to help students learn better. These included the use of technology to help students. I work as a teaching assistance in Yonkers with 4^{th} graders, where many students are struggling with Math, but the help of a great teacher and technology made the students learn Math better. In the classroom, students are learning how to round a number to the nearest hundred. The instructions are: if the number to the right of the place the students are rounding is 0,1,2,3 or 4, leave the place you are rounding to alone and zeros will follow. For example, round to the nearest thousand 2,3,8,5: the answer is 2,000. Ever. Students thought that they would be struggling, but after doing the problem step by step them, they started getting it little by little. Bottge goes on to say “Helping students identify and understand the contextual elements of problem situations is not a new idea” (2). The results show a huge difference that both EAI and TBI students benefited from instruction in their Math class, but EAI students were able to maintain the grade level. The level of students of disabilities was low but the special education was able to help several of the students achieve the math level grade with their peers without disabilities.
Math is all around us and helps us understand the world better. Understanding Emotions in Mathematics provides an overview of the growth and trends on emotions and mathematics. In chapter 1, the author has listed some important questions that need to be answered in a logical way. This chapter describes the way people around the world view Math. It shows that people view math as a hard and unappreciated subject. This chapter also provides data that shows from elementary school through preschool the dislike of Math for many students is due to the way math teachers teach it. As Eligio says in the “Understanding Emotions” chapter, “Polya 1945 proposed the integration of emotions in the analysis of mathematical activity, specifically in relation to problem solving. He argued that “teaching to solve problems is education of the will” (Emotions and Mathematics1). This means that most students get anxious when it comes to solving a Math problem due to the lack of understanding of the subject. In order to solve a Math problem, a person is required to understand the concept of it and understand that it can be hard to learn how to solve a mathematical problem. Another overview of Math “concentrates on literature outside the mathematics anxiety domain” (5). Anxiety can resemble fear, but if a person experiences fear, they know what are afraid of; anxiety is often less specific. It can affect people in many ways in life. It affects how a person thinks and feels. This is why it is important for a person who is teaching to give the learner confidence and make them motivated. I personally had this issue because the teacher wasn’t giving me confidence, I used to have anxiety every time I went to Math class. I believe this is why most people when they hear about Math get anxious.
Math has been always unappreciated, and I hope people realize that without knowing Math skills they will be lost in life.
Teachers should understand that not every student is on the same page as the other students; this means that teachers should provide instruction and learning materials based on the student is level. It is a good idea if teachers have the students work in groups that have a similar level. Beesley says “In the transition to middle school, and during the middle school years, students’ motivation for mathematics tends to decline from what it was during elementary school” (4). In this age, teachers should provide great resources to help the students gain knowledge skills in Math/problem solving. For example, not all students are on the same level as other students; so, the best way to make them learn is by putting them in groups based in their level. In another example, Beesley writes “Allowing students to help generate success criteria gives them feeling of empowerment and makes assessment of their work seem less punitive and more constructive” (5). Teachers are required to put in effort to help students achieve their goals and understand that they are in the classroom to learn. In order for the students to learn Math skills, teachers should ask the students about their strengths and weaknesses in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I would say that I struggled a lot with this subject and when I came to the United States, but my dislike for math became a like because teachers made it easy for me. I am proud of myself because not only I am learning Math, but I am also applying it to real life. I am looking forward to work as teaching assistant in Mercy College for a Math course.
In conclusion, it is a great idea to keep in mind that Math is one of the most important subjects. Math is all around us and no matter where people go, they should understand Math concepts. Math is another language there is no way that we can escape it. Math helps students explain the largest concepts of the world and makes them better thinkers in the real world. I hope in the future when I become a teacher to help students develop a great understanding of the Math. I am glad that my dislike for Math became a like.
Works Cited
Beesley, Andrea D., et al. “Enhancing Formative Assessment Practice and Encouraging Middle School Mathematics Engagement and Persistence.” School Science & Mathematics, vol. 118, no. 1/2, Feb. 2018, pp. 4–16. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/ssm.12255.
Bottge, Brian A., et al. “Teaching Mathematical Problem Solving to Middle School Students in Math, Technology Education, and Special Education Classrooms.” Research in Middle Level Education Online, vol. 27, no. 1, Apr. 2004, pp. 43–68. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/19404476.2004.11658161.
“Understanding Emotions in Mathematical Thinking and Learning. Edited by Ulises Xolocotzin, Elsevier Science & Technology, 2017. ProQuest eBook Central, https://ebookcentral- proquest-com.rdas-proxy.mercy.edu/lib/mercycollege/detail.action?docID=4858375.
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.