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Veteran math teacher suggests journal writing to boost students' performance

Published:Sunday | February 1, 2015 | 2:21 PM

A 20-year veteran math educator is encouraging teachers of the subject to employ strategies that improve critical thinking among students in order to boost performance in the subject.



Writing in today's Sunday Gleaner, Ronald Beckford, a teacher of math and physics at the William Knibb High School in Trelawny, says there is an urgent need to improve competence in math, given the growth in sectors which demand expertise in the subject.



He is recommending that teachers consider using journal writing as a means of helping students to better understand math.



According to Beckford, the approach is a proven success in developing mathematical competency in many jurisdictions by helping students to discover varied strategies to arrive at solutions. It also allows them to review their work, and encourages peer analysis.



Beckford says journal writing in math supports students' learning as it forces them to express their ideas on paper, organise, clarify and reflect on their thinking.



He adds that writing also benefits the teacher as it gives insight into what students understand, how they approach ideas, what misconceptions they harbour, and how they feel about what they are discovering.



He says although employing journal writing in math will increase the demand on teachers, the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages.



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