Sunday, 18 August 2013

Angles, I love you still!

This used to be one of my favourite topics and I must say that I was rather good at it. I always enjoyed trying to figure out the unknown angle. I was pretty much gamed for any kind of problems related to angles that was thrown at me. The keywords here are ‘used to’, ‘enjoyed’ and ‘gamed’. After Friday’s session, I realized that I no longer enjoyed doing the problems on geometry. Dr Yeap gave us a geometry problem based on a parallelogram and an isosceles triangle. I struggled with it. I tried and tried but I was unable to solve it.

This really got me thinking. What went wrong? I wondered whether it was because I haven’t been practicing. After attending the fifth session of Dr Yeap’s classes, I know very well that practicing the way I did was not the way to learn math. The problem I faced was the fact that I was not able to visualize – to be able to see what is not obvious. I had trouble seeing what others saw.

Mathematics is not about knowing the formulas, the properties of geometrical shapes and practicing. It is a lot more than that. It is about having enough concrete and then pictorial experiences. Young children will need to have a variety of hands on experiences. As educators, it is important for us to realize the importance of developing the five competencies:

  1. number sense
  2. looking for patterns and generalizing
  3. visualization
  4. metacognition
  5. communication

Therefore, I am glad that we are moving along with time. There is no use blaming our past experience with math. It is time now we adopt MOE’s new mathematical problem solving framework. And let’s remember as early childhood educators, we play a vital role in providing these experiences for children.

“Mathematics an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person’s intellectual ability in logical reasoning, spatial viasualization, analysis and abstract thought.” (CPDD, MOE)

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