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Education has changed drastically from the three R’s, reading, writing, arithmetic. Now schools have the pressure of adding character education, art, physical education, music, science, history, social studies, the list seems to go on.
How do schools focus on honing student’s mathematical skills with such a vast array of other subjects that are required in schools today?
Integration is one tool that teachers utilize that connects mathematics to other subjects. While mathematics might be the most challenging to integrate, science often works well and forces students to utilize those precious math skills. Application of mathematics knowledge is key.
Homework is often provided to students to practice the skills that are being taught since there is less time to complete this work in the classroom. Homework is such a controversial topic, since teachers use homework so differently. Homework realistically should be a review and practice, not take students hours to complete every night. Homework does show parents what skills their child needs to work on outside of school. Unfortunately math is often one of those subjects.
Creativity is often necessary to help students learn new concepts, apply the information on a regular basis and provide opportunities for students to explore with the skills that they’ve just learned. Manipulatives for younger students is often used to help connect real numbers to objects. Board games and other tools are exposed to students that are slightly older, and higher order math gets the old fashioned pencil and paper.
Mathematics isn’t going anywhere in the education system. Teachers are just forced to be more outside the box thinkers to teach and hone skills of their students.