Marjorie F. Nazaret

Ms. Marj has been teaching for 15 years, long enough to master the basics in her profession and to gain useful insights that may be shared with others in the same field.

She proposes the use of interactive activities by the math teachers in the classroom. “This,” she explains, “…is the best way of integrating higher order thinking skills without neglecting the basic skills.” She further proposes the combination of old and tried techniques with information communication technology (ICT) for best results. She elaborates, “We can learn from the Indians, who are known for their prowess in math. Their best way of learning Math is rote learning, a method in which the answers are given and memorized for mastery first and the explanation comes later. For example, when we teach that 5 x 3 = 15, the learner may absorb and master the idea immediately and learn the why or how later. 5 x 3 = 15 remains true forever, and the easier and sooner the child learns it, the more lasting will the information be in his mind.”

She also emphasizes the student’s mastery of the rule. Every now and then, in the discussion of the problem, the teacher may pause and ask, “What is the rule? What does the rule say we should do?”

After the mastery of the rule comes the application. She encourages the use of practical, realistic, daily situations in problem solving. For example, treasure hunting is a very interesting activity that requires application of skills in plotting points on the rectangular coordinates system. For linear equations, the students may be asked to compute the distance between Deira City Center and Gift Village in Deira.

Asked about the role of the Math teacher, she explains, “The teacher plays a challenging role in making the concepts in Math clearer to the learner. He needs to be positive and student-oriented. He must be accommodating and patient enough to discern the needs of the learner, to entertain his questions, and recognize his need to learn. He needs to promote the learner’s familiarity with math by making him experience it daily, see it daily, hear it daily. In short, Math should be a common part of the learner’s daily life. And most of all, the Math teacher should be student-oriented instead of goal-oriented. He supplies the learner’s need, and he adjusts to the student instead of the student adjusting to him.

Finally, Ms. Marj passes on these words of wisdom that has become her guiding principle, and which has changed her approach to teaching in the past few years, “As a teacher, you possess tremendous power. You can make life happy or miserable, easy or difficult, exciting or dull for the child. Which do you choose?”

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