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Conceptual understanding is extremely important for students’ development in math.
math skills. Multilingual word walls, posters or a math dictionary that all have visuals can be offered as well.
Thinking positively about what you can achieve and developing perseverance also both play an important role in combating math anxiety. All sorts of skills can only be improved with practice and math is no different. As Mr. Dettlaff says, “It seems that in our small working groups, 80% of what we need to do is build back confidence.” We have to be careful that as adults we are not subconsciously transferring our own anxiety about math to our children and students.
While thinking and talking about various math strategies can be helpful to some students, it can also be overwhelming for others. In this case, it may be better to stick with one or two – preferably those that the student chooses and understands best, and offer additional instruction and practice. Mr. Dettlaff points out that practical work that is fun will help students remember the learned skill better.
When students work in small groups, we can see their enjoyment and confidence growing. As students practice math facts and strategies by playing games we hear them saying: “This is
fun!” and “This helps us learn!” At the end of one lesson, a Grade 4 student had a realization: “Oh! I can do division!” – evidence that all it takes to be a math person, is to just do math and be a person.
Renske Oort FIS teacher
Math specialist Graham Fletcher (left) spent several days
at FIS working with both students and teachers on concepts surrounding math learning
Boaler, J. (2015). Fluency without fear: Research evidence on the best ways to learn math facts. Retrieved on 16 May 2022, from https://www. youcubed.org/evidence/fluency-without-fear/
June 2022 FIS World 11
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