In teaching, it is advisable to explore the use of pictorials and other forms of representation to help a teacher drive the point into the students mind. In challenging subjects such as mathematics, teachers are supposed to use representations like manipulatives, mathematical models, pictures, symbolic representations and technology to promote students understanding of abstract mathematics concepts. Representational thinking among the learners is their ability to interpret, construct then respond effectively to the various forms of representations both internal and external. The use of concrete models, such as counting of sticks or beans in a practical classroom, will help the teacher to bring in a point to the students. This is because the brain works more efficiently while constructing representational patterns for encoding and decoding.Unfortunately, as opposed to the varied, complex patterns generated in the brain, Mathematical content offered to learners is typically presented in symbolic and linear forms. That is, Mathematics teachers often attempt to teach the procedure for addition with regrouping without connecting these steps with their physical, concrete manifestations.
The use of multiple representations is reflective of the understanding and learning of the students.The interaction between internal and external representations will facilitate the ability of the student to make comparisons between the different concepts and develop students mathematical thinking. It is important to note that representation assists in motivating the students during learning and drive away boredom and monotony. It is notable that when using multiple representations in the mathematics classroom, students become more active as compared to those who used solely one model of representation. The use of representations for instance visual or concrete means leads to improvement of learners mathematical abilities and improvement of their advanced problem-solving and reasoning skills and the use of various representations facilitates students development of mathematical concepts and their efforts to carry out tasks. Teachers should thus use different modes of representation and refer some mathematics concepts to the real life situations.
Students with learning disabilities also gain a lot when various presentation modes are used. Mostly these are the students with individual needs. From my mathematics teaching experience for more than ten years, I noticed that the students with learning disabilities gain more in learning when they are taught using different representation methods like pictures and concrete models thus it is important to apply these representation models while teaching them too. I agree with the authors that representations must be thought of as tools for thinking, solving, and making precise mathematical points. Thus, both teachers and learners must develop classroom ethics that facilitate explanation and justification, and the use of representations in the service of supporting their arguments.
It is therefore justified from the above discussion to conclude that representation is a key to the understanding and absorbing of the challenging factual to the human. It is therefore recommended in learning to explore these representation methods to enhance the understanding and learning among the students. In teaching mathematics, a challenging subject to most of the pupils, the use of different forms of representations will enhance their gasping rate.
Pape, S. J., & Tchoshanov, M. A. (2001). The role of representation (s) in Developing mathematical understanding. Theory into practice, 40 (2), 118-127.
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