Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Initiatives in Teaching & Learning 2

Last night's lesson was the second lesson on initiatives in teaching and learning.

Dr Yeap brought us through several hands-on activities namely problem-solving questions on tiles and circles. We were first given the opportunity to solve the problem before the class went on to discussin the problem itself.

The focus of the lesson was not the problems itself, rather it was the intent of the problems. As we discussed the problems, I found out that the intention for the problems was not the solution but the idea behind getting to that solution.

If the problem was presented to a pupil, the teacher would then be trying to get the pupil to actually practice metacognition, logical reasoning, looking for patterns and making generalisations, all of which are actually aspects of the Mathematics Curriculum Framework.

What was even more important was the fact that Dr Yeap allowed us to work with concrete materials first. He also asked questions and made us think deeper about the problem at hand. After understanding the question then did we move on to the abstract idea of solving the problem. Throughout the discussion, we asked questions and talked to our group members, hence practising logical reasoning and making generalisations.

Dr Yeap somehow managed to show and model to us how scaffolding in a lesson is very important. It is important how one crucial scaffolding question can actually allow the pupils to think deeper about the problem at hand and continue to ask questions. When pupils ask questions, they are actually learning by inquiry, thus practicing metacognition on their part.

As such, I find that it is not only important for teachers to help pupils understand a certain concept or topic. I think what's as important is for teachers to allow pupils to be responsible for their own learning, in that we allow for pupils to think for themselves. As a teacher, what I can do is to facilitate their learning and to guide them to the right path as and when they make a mistake. However, there should always be room left for the pupils to reach that correct answer or conclusion on their own.

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