Teach ME Math: A Guide to Teaching Children Mathematics

Many children are intimidated by math. They may have accepted as fact that they just aren't mathematically inclined. But, with your help, every student can learn. Following the guidelines below can make learning math easier and more fun for both you and your students.

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Guidelines for Teaching Math

Know Your Goals

A math teacher's goals aren't to finish the math book by the end of the school year or to 'teach to the test.' Your ultimate goals are more far-reaching, including:

  • To prepare your students for 'real life' - managing their money wisely (e.g., budgets, shopping, credit cards and taxes)
  • To aid them in understanding the information that bombards them daily (e.g., science, probability, statistics and percents)
  • To enable them to use deductive reasoning (e.g., why certain choices are good or bad, what time you need to leave home in order to arrive at work on time and learning from experience)

Follow Basic Teaching Principles

The following principles are common practices, but it sometimes helps to see them grouped together.

  1. Know your students - what they like, how they learn, their cultural background, how disciplined they are.
  2. Adapt your teaching to your students.
  3. Teach one fact/step/principle thoroughly before introducing another.
  4. Teach concepts as well as facts; have the students understand as well as analyze.
  5. Make it practical.
  6. Find ways to give some students one-on-one help.

Use Tools for Understanding and Enjoyment

There are numerous teaching tools that may be used. Some are especially helpful in illustrating and clarifying concepts. Others may aid retention, while some may simply make math more fun. Use as many tools as you reasonably can to aid understanding and foster enjoyment. In addition to the requisite basics, which include textbooks, a white board, paper and pencils, other tools include:

  • Manipulatives
  • Stories
  • Puzzles
  • Music
  • Games and activities
  • Computer programs

Strengthen Your Foundation for Teaching Math

Learn to love math yourself. Students will pick up your attitude towards math. If math is not your favorite subject, do all you can to make it easier and more enjoyable for yourself. Workshops, books and Internet forums may help. Make up silly math stories or rhymes for the children and make yourself laugh in the process. Working to make it fun for the children can make it fun for you, too.

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