Why Math Needs Teachers.
Most people have learned basic mathematical facts, like the A-R-K of pi and the meaning of 3×6, but they might not know anything more. In some classrooms, just 25% of the students take calculus. Let’s say that math is just a recess activity. Would you find a school where most of the kids are free to be creative, curious, and spontaneous in their activities?” said Madeline Laporte, mathematics education professor, “Because most schools don’t have that kind of a learning environment, students are moving through their lives without having the experience of thinking and coming up with solutions.”
Research is now suggesting that teachers can impact each other for the greater good. Through these community-based initiatives, which also enable peer mentors, educators can simply make school a place where students are free to be innovators.
Students are more curious, prepared for the world of work, and work better with others when they are themselves and surrounded by supportive adults.
One model in the Bay Area is known as the TeenBuilders, and it provides tangible education resources and innovative programs for at-risk teenagers. By providing project-based classes that provide safe, constructive, and fun activities, students become accustomed to the medium, gaining a base understanding of how creative thinking and problem solving plays a role in learning.
Teachers also help motivate students by giving them classroom space. Without the teacher’s connections, it can be hard for students to attain these useful skills and concepts.
Research suggests that students who have mentors help maintain the connections, increase their interest in math, and foster better understanding of how to communicate and collaborate effectively.
Wendy Zhou, assistant professor of applied economics at SRI International, suggests that parents should mentor their children’s math, physics, science, and engineering teachers. These teachers should use activities of personal relevance to engage their students.
Research shows that high school students are expected to handle higher levels of concepts. Good teachers use the classroom as a place for their students to explore, problem solve, and learn to solve real-world problems.
Two more data points: