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Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

Teaching for understanding is the most crucial part of helping students understand concepts in mathematics. It goes beyond knowing and encompasses the process of helping students in the collection of information, facts, and data. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the process of problem-solving in mathematics should be based on helping students get proof, reason, presentation communication, and connections through a procedural process gained through fluency and concept understanding(Van de Walle et al., 1-35). When children can get proof of solving mathematical problems, they develop a justification for the processes involved in solving mathematical arguments. They develop a connection between concepts and ideas in mathematics, hence applying this knowledge in real-life situations. I believe in teaching mathematics using the student-centered approach by developing the right instructional materials that suit the needs of the learners. In this assignment, I will review Vygotsky, Piaget, Skinner, Freud, and Montessori educational philosophies.

Vygotsky’s Educational Philosophy

In Vygotsky’s theory of education, human actions, including thinking, are suited by the symbolic objects situated in their sociocultural, historical settings. As such, learning is a meaning-making process, and the sociocultural phenomenon surrounding the learning environment influences one’s thinking. Student development has a social origin; therefore, their interaction outside the school determines how a child’s mind is set during the early stages of life before being taken by the student independently later in life (Tilstone & Lyn, 50). For example, a teacher may guide a student through the process of solving a mathematical problem by working through a set of questions to identify what the student already knows. The next time the student encounters a similar problem, they can recall the process they used to solve the questions, and this becomes a tool for the student’s thinking. All kinds of social processes form the thinking processes of a student. Therefore, based on this theory, Vygotsky believed that for students to learn and recall, teachers should help them unite history with the present—individual and society’s inner and outer processes.

Piaget’s Educational Philosophy

Piaget’s theory suggests that it is the role of the teacher to provide appropriate learning experiences and materials based on a child’s level of learning as a way to stimulate students to advance their thinking. His theory supports the student-centered learning approach, formative assessment, and active learning as a way to help learners in the discovery of new knowledge. Piaget outlined the four stages of cognitive development: the sensorimotor stage, the pre-operational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage(Tilstone & Lyn, 130). As such, based on Piaget, children should be guided to overcome certain cognitive errors to achieve their developmental outcomes and move to the next stage of life. Consistently, children construct meaning out of experiences when interacting with the environment and create a connection to how the world works. Therefore, this theory advocates the need for teachers to be guides by allowing children to learn independently through interacting with learning materials, which helps build on their creativity.

Skinner’s Educational Philosophy

Skinner was a psychologist, and he believed that learning meant changing behavior. This is where children observe certain behaviors and take positive ones while leaving negative ones. For Skinner, positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in education. When a certain behavior is reinforced, it is likely to be repeated in the future. Learning involves the shift in overt behavior, and a change occurs as a response to events that take place in the environment. When learners respond in a certain way, they can solve problems such as mathematical problems. As such, when students are rewarded for a certain response to stimuli, they are likely to repeat the same behavior. As a result, this theory emphasizes the significance of reinforcement in learning.

Freud’s Educational Philosophy

Freud’s theory advocates the need for educational systems to teach children to control their instincts. Based on Freud’s theory, behavior is an outcome of interactions and conflicts between three parts of the mind: Ego, id, and superego. These conflicts arouse one’s consciousness, influencing one’s behavioral outcome. As children learn, they begin to understand the rules, hence learning to conform (Tilstone & Lyn, 130). They develop the conscious mind, which works together to create a whole personality hence being able to make moral decisions. Therefore, the role of education is to help children become aware by developing their unconscious minds into conscious selves hence becoming responsible members of society.

Montessori’s Educational Philosophy

Montessori advocates the need to incorporate physical education into the curriculum as a way to produce well-rounded learners. To him, the PE Curriculum is more authentic because children learn in different ways, so education should accommodate all learning styles. Additionally, the Montessori theory of education advocates the need to allow children to learn at their own pace, with each stage advancing into the next. However, the role of the teacher is to guide the individual learners as they interact with the learning plan. As such, this theory advocates a vigorous curriculum that helps learners to become self-motivated in their growth.

The Theorist I feel is Most Like my  Philosophy of Education

The theorist that I find connecting more with my philosophy of education is Piaget. His suggestion that the role of teachers is to provide appropriate learning experiences and materials to stimulate the learning environment and stimulate students’ ability to think goes hand in hand with the student-centered approach. The theory has been influenced by the student-centered approach to learning, where students take control of their learning while the teacher acts as a guide, giving them direction. This strategy has been helpful because it helps to boost learners’ ability to think, be creative, and discover new knowledge in the process of learning.

Work Cited

Tilstone, Christina, and Lyn Layton.”10 Major Child Development Theorists and their Theories Summarised.” Psychology Press, 2014:50-130

Van de Walle, John A., LouAnn H Lovin, Karen S Karp, and Jennifer M Bay-Williams. Teaching Student-centered Mathematics Third edition, Pearson, 2018.


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Read Chapters 1-3 in the textbook

Review math standards on the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) website. They are also available under Course Information. Be sure you know how to find them on the MDE website.

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

Theorist Study: Research educational theorists Vygotsky, Piaget, Skinner, Freud, and Montessori. Write a paragraph explaining each theorist’s educational philosophy. Which theorist do you feel is most like your philosophy of education?

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