Beliefs are viewed as being set ideas that have been constructed throughout many years causing them to be difficult to change, or alter. I believe that it is crucial for an educator teaching mathematics to be aware of their beliefs, because they are reflected in every aspect of their teaching. Beliefs are the underlying reason as to why teachers choose certain teaching styles, classroom environments, teaching strategies, rules etc. For instance, if a teacher did not experience the use of a calculator in their schooling then they would be more hesitant in letting their students use calculators.
My idea of mathematics is combination of what Goos described in the article “Why Teachers Matter.” Mathematics is a subject area used in everyday life that allows students to use logical thinking and reasoning while exploring tasks that work with numbers, symbols, patterns and their relationships. I believe that learning mathematics allows students to view life in a different perspective. It also gives them the opportunity to think abstractly and to solve problems in many different contexts. I believe that students truly know and understand the mathematics that they are learning when they are able describe what they are learning to others, or apply their knowledge to tougher tasks/problems.
- I believe…that an individual can never know everything there is to learn about mathematics. There is an endless supply of mathematics that has yet to be discovered.
- I believe…that every individual learns and understands mathematics differently. Therefore, educators must be willing to teach it multiples ways so they can reach each student in their class.
- I believe…to truly engage students in mathematics it needs to be relevant and have an importance in their everyday life. Creating hands-on activities where students are able to work together to reach a common goal will help generate engagement amongst the class.
- I believe…mathematics is not a subject that can be forced on students. Students have to know, understand and feel comfortable with each concept that they are learning before being presented with concepts that will build on the previous one.
- I believe…that everyone has the ability to learn and excel at mathematics. The student has to be willing to learn and go beyond their comfort zone. The teacher has to be willing to change their teaching style to meet the needs of the student.