Are Aspiring Elementary Teachers Learning Enough Math?
Teachers need to be prepared in elementary math. Programs should focus on preparing them in elementary math.
The think tank says that most teacher-preparation programs do not teach enough math content. However, the think tank does not say how many hours should be spent teaching math content.
More than half of the schools reviewed received failing grades because they didn’t provide enough math courses. Only two schools got perfect scores.
Math teachers should be confident in their own math abilities and be able to communicate this confidence to students. Teachers who feel anxious about math may inadvertently pass those feelings onto their students. Students do better if they see their teacher as confident in math.
Teachers are uncomfortable with their own knowledge in teaching math. Large shares of students struggle in this subject. School closures disrupt math learning even more, especially for black and Hispanic students.
Undergraduate programs are spending more time on math
Teacher Prep Programs are designed to prepare teachers for teaching in public schools. They require students to take courses in subjects such as English, math, science, social studies, and foreign languages. Teachers must also pass state tests before being certified to teach.
Teacher-preparation programs have been adding more than one hour of math content to their curriculum for years now. This year, they’ve actually increased the amount by almost half!
Experts say that taking a course for teachers is important because it helps you learn how to teach. You get to see what kind of teaching methods work well, and you also learn more about your subject matter.
Jansen teaches elementary math courses at the University of Delaware. He uses explicit teaching methods to help students understand math concepts. He compares his teaching style to other teachers’ styles. He also draws diagrams to explain how two numbers relate.
Algebraic thinking and numbers and operation courses should take up more than half of the total amount of instructional time. Geometry and measurement courses should also take up more than half. Data analysis and probability courses should take up less than half of the total instructional time.
NCTQ wants teachers to spend more time teaching math because it helps students learn about numbers, relationships among numbers, operations, and how they relate to each other.