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CREATING CONSTRUCTIVE ENVIRONMENTS IN MATHEMATICS CLASSROOMS Ashu Threja Miranda House University of Delhi

Objectives
There is a kind of teaching that can be legitimately called constructivist teaching in mathematics The constructive environment can be created in mathematics classroom

Tenets of constructivism in Mathematics education


Knowledge is actively created or invented by the child, not passively received from the environment

Children create new mathematical knowledge by reflecting on their physical and mental actions Learning mathematics should thought of as a process of adapting to and organizing one's quantitative world, not discovering pre-existing ideas imposed by others

Cont..
Learning is a social process in which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them (Bruner 1986) Students view mathematics as sense making as compared to viewing it as learning set procedures

Strategies to create constructive environments in Mathematics classroom

Placing Tasks In Meaningful Context


EXAMPLE : Learners encouraged to construct the concept of half by means of the contextual situation via story requiring the monkey to distribute chapatti equally between two cats.

EXAMPLE : Learners presented contextual situation related with distribution of sweets to construct meaning of fractions as parts of whole and equivalence of fractions

ENCOURAGING CONSTRUCTIONS BY POSING PROBLEMS WITH MORE THAN ONE ANSWER

EMPLOYING A STYLE OF TEACHING THAT FOCUS ON PROCESSESS RATHER THAN ON PRODUCT

ENCOURAGING CONSTRUCTIONS BY DISCUSSIONS OF SOLVED TASK

PATH SETTING IN REALISTIC SITUATIONS

MAKING CONSTRUCTIONS WHEN LEARNING MATHEMATICS BY CONTRASTING

ENCOURAGING AND DEVELOPING THEIR OWN STRATEGIES

EMPLOYING DIFFERENT MODES OF REPRESENTATION AND REQUIRING CHILDREN TO MAKE THEIR OWN REPRESENTATION
S: I have a problem. I am thinking about. I: Please do come up with. S: But what if it was 1 and 1 I: Like this 1/1? OR like 4/4 OR 6/6 S: Puts a circle like other children. I: Okay.

Another Student: Just fill in all.


Another Student: Yeah its one piece.

I: Remember what a fraction tells us.


S: (Interrupts), but its whole thing.

I: So how can we fill in?


S: Whole thing.

EMPLOY INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES WHICH ENCOURAGE REFLECTION

FINDINGS
The researcher and her B.El.Ed interns who have employed the above strategies based on the tenets of Constructivism have observed: It empowers us the mathematics teachers to understand how children come to know and create mathematics. It asserts that constructivist notion that an act of cognition involves action, perception, reflection and expression is a useful model for teachers who wish to create lessons which have potential to invoke meaningful learning experiences for learners. Despite the intended goals of teacher, students construct mathematics based on their own structures, and they can still arrive at incomplete or profound understandings unanticipated by the teacher. In a constructivist environment knowledge and understanding is built by the students based on their personal knowledge and the teacher needs to observe carefully the understanding displayed by his or her students and provide opportunities for validation, together with provocative and innovative challenges for them. However, it is a students response to the situation rather than the nature of situation which determines the students pathway to understanding. In a constructivist environment the assumption of different understandings and different levels of understanding leads a teacher not merely to look for simple answers to routine questions but to allow for and seek and even be surprised by the different mathematical understandings shown by the students.

REFERENCES:

*Bauersfeld, H. (1992) Classroom Cultures: From a Social Constructivist perspective. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 23,pp 467-481 *Clements, H.Douglous &Battista, T. Micheal (1990) Constructivist Learning and Teaching ,Arithmetic Teacher,pp 34-37 *Grayson, H.Wheatley (1992) .The role of reflection in mathematics learning.Educatonal Studies in mathematics, 23, pp 529-541 *Kamii, Constance (1982) Encouraging Thinking in Mathematics. Phi Delta Kappan 64, pp247-251 *Lockhead, J .Knocking Down the Building Blocks of Learning : Constructivism and the venture in S. Atkinson (Ed.)1992 Mathematics with Reason: The Emergent Approach to Primary Mathematics, Hodder and Stoughton, London *NCERT Grade 4 Mathematics Book Titled Mathemagic4 based on NCF05 recommendations. *NCERT Grade 5 Mathematics Book Titled Mathemagic4 based on NCF05 recommendations *Pirie,S. ,Kiren,T.,1992 Creating Constructivist Environments and Constructing Creative Mathematics. Educational Studies in Mathematics 23 pp505-528 *Threja ,Ashu .2008 Teaching Mathematics at Elementary Level Based on Constructivist Perspective ; M.Phil Dissertation submitted to the Department of Education ,DU *Whitbread.(1995)Emergent Mathematics or How to Help Young Children Become Confident Mathematicians in Julia Anghileri (Ed.) Childrens mathematical thinking in the primary years. Perspective on Childrens learning.