What Makes An Effective Mathematics Teacher?
An effective teacher I feel is one who has an impact on their students. An effective Mathematics teacher is one that has an impact on that student’s Mathematics understanding instilling a positive outlook on the subject. Being a teacher however isn’t solely working towards a student’s subject specific knowledge but also means to help nurture the student into becoming a well rounded, confident member of society promoting positive well being and British values. The classroom craft needed in order to successfully merge all of these impacts together is one which makes for an effective Mathematics teacher.
Subject knowledge is vital. We’ve heard this over and over again at this point half way through our first term, but as we go through the year teaching different topics to different levels of difficulty depending on which Key Stage we are teaching, subject knowledge is something we must have in great detail and comfortability. To be effective when teaching a lesson means to be able to ensure the students are learning the most they can in a lesson, but learning well. Whatever question they ask about the content needs to be answered with confidence and possibly even answered with a question. In order to scaffold correctly to then support the student’s understanding comes from a high degree of subject knowledge. Being able to be quick on your feet and offer a different strategy of learning when for example half of the class doesn’t understand the Singapore Bar method when working with ratios.
An effective Mathematics teacher can also vouch for their subject. Devising interesting and relatable reasons for the students when asked ‘why they need fraction, decimal and percentage conversions in their lives?’. Perhaps one can spend a lesson or two on a group project planning a time schedule and budget at the theme park therefore working on money and time problem solving to allow the students to feel the relevance of Mathematics in their lives.
My last point is one where teachers build relationships with their students creating a lasting impact and nurturing a positive environment for learning. For the students to have this type of working environment is essential for their learning and motivation. Mathematics can be discussed and debated and even role played, catering for those students who think they don’t have a ‘Maths mind'. But it is us teachers that are trying to challenge the idea of a Maths mind and create a platform for all the learners to come and perform their Maths.
By Alex Gomez