Presently, many practitioners, researchers and educators have given deep attention to the development and enhancement of teaching mathematics and mathematics education world-wide. Yet, many problems still exist when we are looking to the classroom and see how math teachers do their job. Teaching mathematics is always being a challenging issue to be explored, and there is no easy-single recipe for helping all the teachers to become effective and professional. In this essay, however, I try to make a very brief explanation on how teachers should teach mathematics by considering theory and several aspects of teaching mathematics in the classroom.
In order to answer this question, I propose three premises underpin what the idea I want to explain. Firstly, I argue that teachers as professional ones have to understand well about the contents of mathematics, the development of the students and pedagogical aspects of mathematics. Teachers have to know deeply about the topics that s/he is going to teach and be able to formulate the knowledge with meaningful contexts in their teaching approach. Effective mathematics teaching requires creativity and flexibility of the teachers to propose certain questions that can help the students to think. The teachers also have to understand the strength and weakness of the learners. They have to know the development of students’ understanding of mathematics and what kind of help that s/he can offer in order to guide the learners and prevent them from misunderstandings. Moreover, the teachers also need to understand the big ideas, strategies and models involving in the certain topics of mathematics. By having these kinds of things in mind, the teachers will be able to select and use appropriate tools and materials that can engage the students to develop their mathematical understanding.
Secondly, teaching mathematics requires a supportive learning environment. Teaching mathematics in this rapidly informative and technological era forcing the teachers to be creative in creating a learning environment that appropriate and motivate for the learners to understand the mathematical concepts. In the digital ages, the teachers have to be able to integrating technology advances into their classroom. Consider, for example computers that can be a good stuff to engage and facilitate students in learning certain concepts of mathematics. Besides, by creating technology-integrated learning environment the teachers build a mathematical community among students that involved technology. Well-chosen technological tools will help the students to understand mathematics better and even go beyond of it.
Last but not least, professional mathematics teachers have to be well-informed about the improvement and new advances in mathematics education and think as a researcher. Being as a professional math teacher is requiring a wide range of knowledge of the domain. Since the development of mathematics education is growing rapidly, the teachers have to update their knowledge, either related to the contents of mathematics or pedagogical aspects of it. The teachers, besides teaching mathematics in the classroom, also have to think as a researcher and continually searching for the improvement by analyzing the students work, doing self-reflection and sharing experience with their colleagues.
In conclusion, I realize that every teacher have their own belief, strategies, and teaching styles for helping and guiding the students to learn mathematics in the classroom, and also there is no single right way to teach mathematics. However, these three premises, I believe, can guide the teachers to be able to facilitate and help the students to get the mathematical ideas and be an effective and professional one.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 2000. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Inc.