Maths is like a nightmare for many students in the UAE. It is observed that students flunk in the particular subject due to the poor teaching methods. It is the optimum requirement to turn this around.
In the international assessments done by TIMSS or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies, the UAE ranked 47th which specifies that the performance of the students is below the international standards.
The ultimate importance to the TIMSS testing is provided by the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda. The UAE’s Ministry of Education’s goal is to make UAE able to rank in the top 15 countries for TIMSS by the year 2021.
A US-based mathematics teacher named Eric Schulz is teaching for more than three decades. He has trained approximately 50 professionals in the sector of higher education on the way to boost the learning and teaching math in the UAE.
To strengthen the teaching and learning of math, Pearson Middle East has arranged a session called ‘Math Day’ for addressing the learning challenges along with the practical sessions that aid in accelerating the way educators must support the learners and make the pipeline of UAE’s STEM students strong. Schulz has demonstrated how there isn’t any reason for fearing or hating the subject called math. According to him, it is the lack of understanding math and not the subject itself that triggered the dislike. Around 12 years earlier, Schulz has realized when a young man arrived at his office and asked which maths class to take. Before that, the person stated that he hates maths. Then, Schulz investigated the interests of the student. He decided to ask the student to solve a problem through the usage of visual arts that he used to enjoy the most. This exploration brought a breakthrough.
As per an interview was given to the Gulf News, Schulz had a watershed moment as the student got tears because it was the very first time that he understood what it really meant to multiply the expressions as it linked to his visual processing.
Schulz viewed a chance to make the book come alive as a method of reaching the learners who were not successful in the subject due to the process in which X’s and Y’s are explained on the board. There were almost 1,200 interactive figures published in his two eTexts for making math learning more fun and engaging for the students.
The survey by TIMSS:
In the year 2015, TIMSS has done a survey that presented an improvement for the students of Dubai who did score above the international averages, along with the fourth graders grabbing 511 (up from 468 in 2011) points in maths and 518 (up from 461 in 2011) points in science subjects. The average score of TIMSS is 500. Again, the eighth graders scored 512 points (up from 478 in 2011) in maths and 525 points (up from 485 in 2011) in science. The number of participating countries was 57. Over 13,000 students from all over Dubai’s private schools were involved in the assessment.
Changing the techniques of teaching by making maths come to life with interactive graphics helps in improvisation.
Eric Schulz has stated that teachers must first look at themselves and examine their teaching methods for the improvement rather than blaming the students for not doing well in maths.
The head of higher education portfolio strategy at Pearson Middle east, Dalai Leil told Gulf News that a critical point is presently the vision and the mission of the UAE on STEM, soft skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, etc. that is based on maths.
The best tips for making maths fun and easy for the students:
1. Listening and caring for the students:
It is crucial to listen to what students are expressing as students don’t care about the quantity you know until they understand how much you care for them.
2. Making math learning more practical:
Math learning should be made more practical. It’s important to understand the concepts rather than memorizing. One must address the students’ desire for finding out how math is influencing their lives and the way it can be applied. Learning is important and not memorizing. Understanding the concept helps them to view where the mathematical idea arrives in life.
3. Searching for creative methods for content delivery:
If there is a will to learn, there is a way to improve. With physical limitations, unable to see or hear, people think about various ways to deliver content. Systemising the delivery can ruin the opportunity to reach the individual.
Hence, being more creative in teaching math can make it easier and fun for the students to learn.