By Jason Bedford on August 6th, 2013
Elementary math is a subject many students struggle to grasp. The material often requires extra attention and differs with each student. According to Best Evidence Encyclopedia, there is a large achievement gap between black, Hispanic and white elementary students. Here are some of the best and most effective methods of teaching math which may work to close the learning gap and help those who often experience learning hurdles in the classroom:
Visuals and graphics
Textbooks often include various visuals and graphics for students to learn from. They are crucial elements to accompany text and help get the concepts across to students. However, according to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, these graphics appeared to be much more effective when paired with specific practice or guidance. This guidance could be coming from the teacher or from another classroom tool.
Teachers are starting to implement computerized learning into the classroom for a more personalized learning approach. In fact, more than four in 10 teachers report the use of e-readers and tablet computers in their classrooms to complete assignments and assist in learning. With virtual math programs, children can not only see these graphics, but they can revisit concepts that were especially difficult. They are able to learn at their own pace and won't feel rushed to move onto a concept they are not yet ready to tackle.
The process of having students verbalize step-by-step how they got to the answer they did may help other students to learn basic procedures. As you may know, many students are hesitant to raise their hands in class to ask questions for fear of sounding unintelligent. If those in the class are required to explain how they got to that answer, they may be helping their classmates in the process. The act of students explaining their process may also help them to learn how to do a certain problem. This helps them to recognize the strategies they're using and potentially apply them to other areas of learning.
According to the Institute of Education Sciences, many students benefit from specific teacher feedback about what they did correctly and where and how they can improve next time. Teachers should also present their students with opportunities to correct their answers and see what errors they made. Instead of simply giving the correct answer and telling them where they went wrong, it helps for students to be guided in that direction so they can figure it out for themselves.