Gabi Coty ’17

Project TitlePrimary Mathematics Education Methodologies
Mentor – Paula White

Primary grade mathematics education sets the stage for whether students excel or struggle in mathematics in their later school years. Thus, models for teaching mathematics as well as strategies for helping students overcome math anxiety are important concepts for teachers’ pedagogical development. Many people are unaware of the variety of methodologies available for teaching math and their benefits. It is important to educate teachers and parents about the various techniques and structures available, so they can make educated decisions about how best to educate students mathematically. Often teachers are taught one or two methods for teaching mathematics, and not made aware of the various options available to them. The truth is that there are numerous ways to teach early math; whether these are the specific teaching methods themselves, or the individual techniques to solving addition and subtraction problems. Japan uses a lesson study approach, where the teacher presents the lesson to other teachers for review and critique before presenting the lesson, concept, and problems to the students. Finland has had strong success with improving students mathematical knowledge by implementing a very student-centered system that provides a balance of traditional routines and new variations on the traditional routines/algorithms. When teachers know their options, they can then make informed decisions about what is best for their students.