Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Washington professor promotes creative math-teaching methods

Published:Friday | March 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Professor Neal I. Koblitz (second left) professor of mathematics at the University of Washington, helps students from Shortwood Practising Primary and Junior High School with math problems while conducting a workshop. The occasion was the Shortwood Teachers' College Department of Mathematics workshop on mathematics teaching and learning, held in collaboration with Jamaica Collaborative for Universal Technology Education and Caribbean Institute for Mathematical Sciences, at Shortwood Teachers' College on Tuesday. Ian Allen/Photographer

REALISING THE universal dissatisfaction in the way mathematics is being taught, Neal Koblitz, professor of mathematics at the University of Washington, has been travelling to countries around the world presenting creative methods in teaching the subject.

At the Shortwood Teachers' College, Kingston, on Tuesday, students, teachers and professors came together for a workshop on creative, thought-provoking mathematics teaching and learning presented by Koblitz.

"The idea is to present maths as thought-provoking rather than purely a mechanical procedure," said Koblitz.

"We need to teach children how to apply a creative thought process to maths, challenge their creative process. Challenge the students to come up with creative ways to solve a math problem, as opposed to using the same formulas always taught. A creative thought process in coming to the same conclusion is the aim."

Hosted in collaboration with the Jamaica Collaborative for Universal Technology Education and Caribbean Institute for Mathematical Sciences, students at the workshop were given math papers and exercises that were not part of their regular curriculum while teachers assisted them.

"Although a controversial topic, mathematics reform is needed in order for students to fully grasp and appreciate this universal language," said Koblitz.