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Overview of the Current Preschool Mathematics Teaching - Dissertation Example

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Children in the early childhood stage usually get their first taste of math concepts and learn their first known math skills when they step into a day care or nursery program…
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Overview of the Current Preschool Mathematics Teaching
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Download file to see previous pages One is parental attitudes that influence how they regard Math. Another is also the way teachers of early childhood education do not prioritize Math as much as literacy learning. Children who are exposed to negative views of Math at such an early age, are most likely to develop the same negative attitudes towards a subject area that will prove to be very significant in their lives. It is believed that whatever perceptions of what Math is at this early stage will impact their views, attitudes and even performance when they grow older. Hence it is crucial that provision of high quality early childhood Math programs in the foundation stage be ensured (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000).It is equally important to know how teachers of Math perceive how their young students learn the subject and what particular concepts and skills to teach at that sensitive stage of development. It is a common experience of most people to dread Math and this does not exclude Math teachers who may still nurture some negative emotions for the subject. Good teachers are central to the development of positive attitudes towards a potentially gruelling subject that most people find difficulty in. Enhancing their confidence and competence in their teaching skills goes a long way in implementing an efficient Math program. Schools should be able to provide quality training for teachers that focus both on the relevant content and the development of a positive disposition towards the subject (Tsamir & Tirosh, 2009). This is echoed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which calls for the education, experience and expertise of teachers when decisions regarding children’s programs are made (Decker et al, 2009). Platas (2008) came up with the instruments, Knowledge of Mathematical Development (KMD) Survey and the Beliefs Survey that measure the knowledge of early mathematical development and beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning in the preschool classroom of preschool teachers. She found in her study that there was a significant variation in the knowledge and beliefs of early childhood teachers on age-appropriateness of math instruction, classroom locus of generation of mathematical knowledge, math versus socio-emotional development and the comfort level in providing the instruction. Standardizing such knowledge will greatly aid new teachers and old teachers alike in knowing what to teach. Platas’ instrument is very helpful in preparing future Math teachers. Platas’ work has raised many issues and beliefs regarding the developmental knowledge of preschoolers. Such issues include age-appropriateness of mathematical instruction used by teachers in preschools, the extent of learning of such mathematical concepts taught, the purpose of teaching math concepts in preschool and the comfort level of teachers when they introduce such math concepts to preschool children (Clement & Sarama, 2007; Ginsburg & Golbeck, 2004; Platas, 2008). 2. Preschool Teachers' Knowledge of Mathematical Development Platas (2008) defines early mathematical development as “the increasingly complex mathematical constructions and goals that young children develop and pursue in their activities (p.3). It follows the teacher’s knowledge of mathematical development refers to their adeptness in understanding this definition and knowing how to implement developmentally-appropriate programs to help their students achieve these goals. Standardized goals for mathematical development have been developed by several national and state organizations. Forty-six states have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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