As a teacher, you will play a critical role in ensuring that students are provided with quality learning experiences in the maths and numeracy domain. You need to understand relevant mathematical concepts, and also understand and develop pedagogical approaches that maximise students’ learning opportunities and engagement with maths concepts.
Maths skills are also needed to undertake research in Education since quantitative and mixed-methods methodologies are increasingly being employed by educational researchers. Even if you are not directly involved in research, you will have to be able to interpret quantitative research results as published in academic sources (e.g. effectiveness of educational interventions).
Here we focus on diverse aspects related to teaching and understanding mathematical concepts rather than mathematical calculations. Links to resources which cover these are covered in other sections of Achieve@uni. The four aspects are:
Test your Maths Skills
If you would like to test your maths skills, complete the Numeracy Success Indicator (NSI).
Depending on the subjects you are enrolled in, and whether you will teach in early childhood education, primary and/or secondary, you will learn and work with specific mathematical concepts as part of your tertiary education experience.
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority provide a complete set of achievement standards in the Mathematics Domain from Foundation to Year 10. This resource includes important information about the mathematical concepts and skills acquired by students by level and age, the progression from one level to another, and achievement standards:
For Years 11 and 12, check the Victorian Certificate of Education Mathematics Study Design:
The Education and Training department of Victoria also provides resources for teachers on assessment, professional learning and learning resources for teachers within the mathematics domain:
The key to improving your mathematical skills is to practise and solve as many maths problems as possible. There are lots of online resources to help you improve and practice your maths skills; in this section you will find some helpful resources to get you started.
The following maths worksheets are a good starting point to develop your skills on these mathematical concepts:
The RMIT learning lab includes a section on maths topics typically found in tertiary studies:
The Khan Academy is also a helpful online resource to develop and practice your skills in a variety of maths topics (please note grade levels correspond to the U.S. education system and may not be equivalent to the standards/levels of the Victorian curriculum):
Finally, Year 10 Maths books are good resources to refresh and practice your maths.
Teaching mathematics is not only the process of showing how to perform mathematical calculations, but also developing students’ problem-solving skills, deep understanding of mathematical concepts and practical applications of maths. In this regard, you will apply principles of learning theories related to constructivism and active learning. During your degree, you will have the chance to apply learning theories to teaching mathematics and develop practical strategies that account for diverse groups of learners. Some key concepts include:
The Victorian Education and Training department provides learning and teaching support for maths students
There are also a number of books to help you develop and reflect on your pedagogical skills such as:
Working with peers to provide and receive feedback is also a helpful strategy, as well as reflecting on your development as a teacher.
One of the main barriers to effective teaching and learning is maths anxiety. This could be due to a gap in mathematical knowledge that makes the student feel anxious. It can also be due to past negative experiences as a maths student, or negative perceptions about one’s ability to solve maths problems. As a teacher, you may have to deal not only with student’s maths anxiety but also your own anxiety when working with mathematical concepts.
An important aspect to take into consideration when dealing with maths anxiety is that it is a learned response and, thus, can be unlearned. Practising maths problems and being exposed to maths is critical to dealing with maths anxiety, as anxiety is negatively reinforced.
There are some helpful strategies to deal with maths anxiety to help you break the cycle negative beliefs-avoid behaviour- negative reinforcement:
Finally, Counselling Services can help you identify and implement effective strategies to deal with maths anxiety.
Being able to read and interpret quantitative research data is a critical skill for teachers and educators. It is important to be able to assess the quantitative information presented in academic sources (e.g. peer reviewed journals) in order to critically analyse results and recommendations from research studies. These skills are needed in order to implement evidence-based educational practices; that is, practices based on reliable research evidence.
These are some strategies to read and interpret quantitative research data. We recommend you to check the Statistics pages to refresh your knowledge about descriptive and inferential statistics: