a) I believe that mathematics is at the heart of many successful careers and does contribute positively to our lives. As a result, mathematics is an important area of study because it has the potential to provide students with several fundamental or transferrable skills. Teachers need to acknowledge the fact that they play a significant role in the learning process of students. Therefore, referring to the articles and textbook chapter, I strongly agree that efficiency in delivering a lesson depends on both the beliefs, interests, and pedagogical content knowledge of the teacher. I believe that mastery of content knowledge can include teaching and learning strategies and student’s learning styles. As well, using appropriate teaching methods, resources and materials can result in more effective teaching approaches, and potentially make concept understanding more achievable and/or clearer.
Furthermore, it is important that mathematics teachers believe that what they are teaching is beneficial and relevant. Teachers have to convince their students that there is value in the content. However, if mathematics teachers see the relevancy themselves then they will most likely teach accordingly. For example, if you have a teacher who believes in what they are doing, not only seeing math as important but relevant, then they can model that for their students by presenting their courses with integrity and honesty. As well, the course content becomes more relevant and “useful” not only for the present but for the student’s future lives. This is a reflection from my own math experiences. Every math class that I have taken, in both high school and elementary school, there was always a significant amount of students who said “why are we learning this?” Now if the teacher not only believes, but also communicates and teaches the importance and relevancy of mathematical content then students are more likely to modify their own preconceptions of math.
b) My Mathematics Creed
1) I believe mathematics is a universal language. All human beings have a shared/collective understanding of mathematical ideas and concepts.
2) I believe mathematics is a discipline. The study of relationships, measurements, properties, shapes, and space, using symbols, numbers, patterns and formulas as a tool.
3) I believe mathematics is a human endeavour. “Develop an understanding of mathematics as a way of knowing the world that all humans are capable of with respect to their personal experiences and needs” (Saskatchewan Curriculum).
4) I believe mathematics is a science. Both areas of study focus/deal with understanding the world around us; uses similar problem-solving approaches and tools.
5) I believe mathematics is a social activity. Mathematical teaching practices that encourage student-to-student discourse (group work) can increase student knowledge, and even promotes deeper and prolonged learning.