By Sherly J. Concepcion, Head Techer III, Jaen NHS
Learning Mathematics has always been a perennial problem to many
students and teachers. Where lies the problem? Maybe, the first problem is the
mindset and attitudes of the learners. Many people and many parents establish into
their children’s mind that Mathematics is a very difficult subject. That they will solve
problems, using formulas and a lot of thinking and exhaustive activities.
So the first task of the teacher is to make students aware of the joyful part of
learning Mathematics. Maybe they can encourage students by asking “Who wants to
have a happy exciting funful life? Ok, Let’s have it. Let’s welcome Mathematics in our
life. Do you have a welcome song?
The instructional or teaching-learning process always involves three main
factors: The Teacher, the learner and the process. The instructional process is
compared to the cooking process. The cook, the ingredients, and the cooking material.
The cook must be someone who knows the recipe and has a good vision of the results
of cooking or the finished product. The ingredients must be in good condition, free
from unnecessary stuff that can ruin the recipe. The cooking venue and cooking
material must be adapted to the ingredients to be cooked. The cook is the teacher.
The ingredients or recipe to prepare and cook are the students and the cooking venue
and are the teaching method, instructional materials and the assessment. process
Transposing this analogy to the teaching and learning of mathematics, the
teacher is someone who knows his subject, lessons, and desired competencies to be
taught and skills to be developed in the learners.
The learners are the ingredients, who must be ready, interested, and well-
motivated. The teacher prepares them through the laws or principles of learning which
are: the law of readiness, law of effect, law of exercise, law of primacy, law of recency
and law of freedom (Thorndike, 1932). Preparation is also effectively done through
appropriate teaching methods and strategies.
The law of readiness implies a high degree of willingness and eagerness of the
students to learn. Are the students ready in all aspects like mentally, physically and
emotionally? This is essential. Learning is a voluntary process. No good learning takes
place in a forced or undesirable condition.
The law of effect states that learning is retained and strengthened when
accompanied by pleasant or satisfying feeling. The learner will strive to continue
learning as long as the teacher makes his teaching a joyful experience. Mathematics
teachers can sing and dance their lessons! They can dance the LA Walk or any recent
steps that have good melody and rhythm while memorizing formula! Students will
always feel interested and motivated to attend class because they look forward to the
motivations, the new approaches and activities and “joyful performance of the
teachers as a singer and dancer. Some teachers even try magic.!
The law of exercise states that those funful and joyful things that are most
often repeated are the ones that are best remembered and retained. Maybe, before
and after a lesson of the day let students repeat the main point of the lesson…in a
slogan song form! Allow them to create songs that contain the concepts learned
through the day. Teachers may encourage healthy competitions.
Some Mathematics teachers let their students give their students the freedom to
explore and experiment on their own perception and notion of effectively analyzing
and solving a problem.
The law of primacy or the state of always being first, often creates a strong
impression which may be difficult to change. Let students think of Mathematics as a
primary, vital and essential subject for life. Emphasize the concept that Mathematics
is full of problems to be solved. Life is also a journey with many problems. Dealing with
a problem in Mathematics require careful and logical steps. The same principle is
applied in life. We make a choice, We are careful with our steps.
The law of recency states that things most recently learned are best
remembered. That’s why in the lesson plan, we have the review or apperception part
where learners recall and refresh what was learned before starting a new lesson.
Learning becomes effective and retentive when students can relate and they are
able to see the connection or relationship of lessons learned.
The law of intensity states that when lessons have intense or strong impact on
the learner, the more he will strive to learn. For example, many are inspired by the
stories of Lincoln who failed a hundred times in his political ventures before becoming
the US President. It took Einstein many years to analyze orbits and light years to
formulate the Law of Relativity. It took Gregor Mendel 25 years to form the Laws of
Genetics and Heredity..
The law of freedom simply states that things freely learned are best learned.
Learning is a voluntary process. There are topics or lessons that students can easily
relate to. This is one of the reasons why students are given options in senior high
school to choose freely their strands or academic track based on their academic and
nonacademic interests or inclinations. Teaching and learning Mathematics is a
challenge. In solving Math problems, we need skills like analytical, logical thinking
and problem-solving skills. Life’s problems we need the same skills. When problems
arise, we need to think and analyze. Define and identify the problem. What is the main
cause? What are the logical and sequential steps in solving? How shall the problem
be solved? This is one of the objectives of the spiral method of learning. Students are
given opportunities to learn and develop in a sequential way- from concrete to abstract
, from simple to complex concepts.
. Like Mathematics, LIFE is never without a problem. There are logical ways
to handle problem. Think. Analyze. Formulate problem-solving steps. and check the
results or the solutions. Then you form or conclude facts to become principles.
Indeed, learning Mathematics essential as life. It is not only a preparation to
life but LIFE ITSELF.