Monday, October 25, 2010

6th Reflection

Initiatives in Teaching & Learning (Part 2)
Three activities, namely tiles problem, structure problem and circle problem, were conducted with the class during the lesson. In the first activity, the groups were given tiles to form shapes and to find the perimeter of the shapes. Eventually the class was given a higher order question to solve. For instance, the class was asked to find the number of tiles needed if the perimeter given was 93 cm. In the second activity, the class had to solve a problem whereby some structures, in the form of cubes, were given and the students had to look for patterns in order to find the rods needed to build new structures as well as the height of the structures. In the last activity, the students were given square coloured papers and they had to fold into different shapes to find the area of a circle.
Next, Dr Yeap shared with the class the PERI Report in relation to the activities conducted. The PERI Report stated that students learn through the following experience:
(a) Learning by inquiry
(b) Learning by interacting
(c) Learning by doing
(d) Learning in and of the real world
(f)  Learning by reflecting

Dr Yeap also shared Vygotsky’s theory of ‘Zone of proximal development (ZPD)’ with the class. According to Vygotsky (1896 – 1934), it is the gap between a child’s ability to perform a task on his own (lower level) to his ability to perform the task with the help of another child or adult (higher level). He believed that learning takes place in this zone. This was exactly what Dr Yeap was trying to show us when he was conducting the activities. He let us explore all possibilities as we were solving the problems. However, when we were unable to solve them, he began to prompt us with questions to assist us to solve the problems.  We were able to solve the problems gradually through the systematic questions asked.
Throughout the lesson, I learnt that students learn through activities. Activities are fun and engaging. Students interact with one another through activities. They discuss about the problem, share what they have learnt and solve it eventually through teamwork. This is especially helpful for students with lower ability. They learn concepts through group work. In fact, everyone learns in a non-threatening environment. This is exactly what we hope to achieve as teachers and what the initiatives are all about. Everyone must go through all types of experiences no matter how difficult they may be. This is because we will be able to face and overcome all obstacles when the situation arises. Thus, as teachers, we must help to sharpen our students’ intellectual ability, through visualization and abstraction, through the teaching of Mathematics.   
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