Experiential Learning: An Effective Teaching Strategy for Mathematics

Mathematics is undeniably a hard subject. Even the great minds of the past such as Albert Einstein know for a fact that there are difficulties in learning the matter. No wonder Math teachers experience difficulties in the way they teach students. The lecture approach where teachers let students memorize mathematical facts has long been gone. Today, teachers are called on to teach new and effective teaching methods to develop not only mastery, but comprehension as well.

Mathematics requires experiential learning where students are involved in their own understanding of mathematical concepts and practices. Through this type of learning, students are able to identify problems, use constructive reasoning to make viable arguments, and applying mathematics in real-life problems.

mathematicsOn improving mathematical concepts, a recent study explained that problem solving in mathematics is not a natural talent, but learned. The teacher’s role is to guide students through practice, provide both routine and non-routine problems, and help them develop their own strategies in solving those problems. In addition, the study highlights the importance of including the students in developing skills in problem solving and sharing them through argumentative discussions.

Traditionally, math textbooks often just provide fixed examples without providing rich experiences in problem solving. Teachers too often review the answers immediately without explaining what strategies students use to solve the problems or if the solutions can be explained by the students themselves.

For teachers to build their students’ mathematical problem solving strategies, they need to provide instruction that explores new concepts through scaffolding. Scaffolding includes asking guide questions that lead to answers rather than supplying them immediately.

In regards to experiential learning at the high school level, teachers need to focus on reasoning and acquire a sense of using mathematics on their daily lives. This is because U.S. high school students have the inability to apply math to solve problems in a variety of situations. This trends needs to be improved through experiential learning.

Overcoming Fear in Mathematics

We all experience stress and anxiety but sometimes our fears of heights, insects or even mathematics can be unreasonable. In fact, mathematics stress, an acknowledged trend, can be a huge hurdle to learning. Fortunately, instructors who understand this can help their learners get over it. Math stress is typical. In 2005, United merican researchers Mark Ashcraft and Kelly Ridley approximated that 20 percent of people in America were extremely math nervous and it is reasonable to believe that the amount here would be similar. Math stress, as American specialist Ray Hembree has described, is the feeling of concern, stress or anxiety experienced along with mathematics.

mathematicsGerman psycho therapist Reinhard Pekrun’s work on kids’ stress in regards to accomplishing a particular result helps describe why mathematics stress is so typical. Put simply, we are more likely to be nervous when we extremely value a process, but feel we have no control over it. Math is respected because it is considered an indication of intellect. So, displaying poor statistical capability has effects for how smart you will be recognized to be. Emotions of lack of control could come from the idea that mathematics is difficult, or the idea that you need a math mind to be successful in the subject. These two types of misconceptions cause mathematics stress, but it is the in-congruence, when a university student extremely values a process, but seems they are not in control, that results in stress.

Math stress predisposes learners to be sensitive to statistical stimuli; to experience worry almost instantly after they experience math and to be less capable of employing techniques to control this worry. It can also impact an individual’s capability to run working memory, the type of memory that allows them to hold information in their mind as they complete projects like psychological computations. So what can instructors do to lower mathematics stress and help learners control their psychological response to mathematics? A good first step is to deal with some of the misconceptions that can make learners feel negative towards the topic. They can motivate learners to believe that things like gender generalizations and adverse peer culture should not limit their statistical options. They can also make learners become aware of the many programs of mathematics in many professions and life routes.

Mathematics and Women

Ladies of the past and unfortunately, in the present hear it all the time. Because of their sex, they just cannot do mathematics. And if they can, well, they will never be as good as the men. To put it very generously, this mind-set is not precise, nor is it healthy. Negative generalizations perpetuate a terrible pattern. When flooded with information of their own (allegedly inherited, reasonably false) foibles, girls internalize them. Thus frustrated, they eventually do not execute to the max of their perceptive abilities. Which then gives instructors, parents, and other authority figures “proof” that they should not expect much of their women mathematics learners. That this mind-set continues may directly link with the gradual and struggling growth of women learners specializing in mathematics.

In reality, girls’ abilities and potential for educational accomplishment are no different than boys’. Research confirms that they perform similarly well when getting the identical compliment and support as their male alternatives. Eliminate the generalizations, and we’ll increase the numbers and position of women in mathematics. And fair visibility and knowledge continues to be the biggest way of enhancing this typically marginalized demographics’ information.

women-in-math

It would be a misconception to say that female specialized mathematicians these days benefit from the enthusiastic initiatives and efforts from predecessors. They do, of course, but that announcement only looks into one aspect of these great thinkers’ achievements. The fact is, everyone owes a debt of appreciation to revolutionary females in mathematics. Dedicating themselves to the self-discipline, even if they experienced (or proceed facing) discrimination and dismissal, can motivate anyone of any sex and profession. Their research has also powered mathematics ahead, which in turn, has powered humankind ahead. Although females stay underrepresented in mathematics and relevant sectors, they do not waiver when assisting one another. They form companies and projects to network, provide possibilities, enjoy the most significant titles and motivate more females to decline generalizations and accept number nerdery.

Gender Gap in Mathematics

The misconception that men exceed females in the mathematics and science fields has persisted for decades. However, scientists from Brigham Young University, University of Miami and Rutgers University recently conducted a study to challenge that misconception and the gender gap associated with it. In their report, which was already released by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization and showed up in a EurekAlert public launch Feb. 25, scientists determined females are as efficient as men in mathematics when changing the conditions of a competitive environment.

gender_gap_mathematicsJoe Price, the lead specialist of the research and an associate lecturer of business economics at BYU, said the idea for his research occurred out of a couple of main issues. “We’re getting to the point where there are more ladies in college than young boys, but there are some careers that men are much more represented,” Price said. He detailed CEOs and associates in law companies as a several examples of generally male-dominated careers. “If women don’t do as well in aggressive configurations, they will not do as well in these careers or will fall out of those careers.”

Price said this was one reason why he and scientists started learning the gender gap’s existence in educational and aggressive surroundings. With the increase of female’s registration in higher education, he said it has become progressively important for scientists to examine the causes and solutions of gender gaps. Between 2000 and 2010, colleges underwent a 39-percent increase in women registration, as opposed to 35-percent increase among men, according to a review by the Institute of Education Sciences. This number is predicted to improve significantly over the next several years. Price said a part of his inspiration for the research was personal. He is a mathematics fanatic and a dad of two girls. “[I was] really inspired to find mathematical contests that ladies could flourish in,” he said.