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Monday, October 18, 2010

Reflection 7 : Making Connections ( 12 October 2010 )

My essential take aways from Dr Yeap's tutorial :
What teachers teach is not as important as how teachers teach. 
Teachers have to be sensitive to the differences in students’ readiness to learn and they should plan activities according to students' readiness rather than assume that all students are the same. Teachers who understand how their students learn new things will choose learning activities that allow students to learn most effectively. Practice and drill can be an interesting and fun learning process when it is turned into a game. In‘Salute’, students practice multiplication facts in a fun and non-threatening ways. As the game is played, there is a lot of peer interactions, coaching and self-assessment taking place without students being aware of it. The learning environment is emotionally safe as it is non-evaluative which encourages students to take relevant risks intellectually and in the process found themselves engaged. When students feel positive about themselves and their peers they become motivated and stay on-task.

Students who are actively engaged in interactive activities will be stimulated to seek information that lead them  to problem-solve both independently and collaboratively, such as, ‘Take 1 Take 2’ and ‘O_N_E – 1’ games. These games ‘hook’ students by captivating their attention, challenge their thinking and help them to make sense of learning. The use of questions engage students by challenging their viewpoints and assumptions; provoking and stretching their thinking to a higher level; first by making a conjecture and then proceed to test it out. This is evident in the way Dr Yeap posed questions to help us arrive at the conclusion that the concept of multiples is applied in the game, and in the process helping us to see the relevance and meaning of the game as a learning activity to engage students.    

Most importantly, the daily classroom learning experiences must provide moments of enjoyment for students. Students must views mathematics as a subject of enjoyment and excitement which will provide them with the opportunity for creative work and moment of enlightenment. When ideas are discovered and insights gained, students are spurred to pursue mathematics beyond the classroom.
This is the essence of the PETALS Framework where each dimension addresses a different aspect of learning and teaching, which when put together, will greatly enhance learning.   

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