Educators: Enhancing Instructors’ Math Proficiency Will Benefit Students

Even at the most basic level, many elementary school teachers express their distaste for the idea of teaching mathematics. Teachers should be concerned about that. Because math skills build upon one another, experts say it is imperative that pupils have a strong foundation in the discipline. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released research indicating that adults, particularly women, frequently experience anxiety related to math. Women make up about 90% of primary school teachers in the United States. According to the NIH study, students may experience negative outcomes from anxiety in the context of education. International research has revealed that American pupils’ arithmetic proficiency lags behind that of many other countries. The United States was placed 30th out of its member nations by the international economic research organization, the OECD, in 2017.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a further decline in math exam scores in the United States. According to educators, boosting primary school teachers’ confidence is a critical first step toward enhancing math proficiency in the wake of the pandemic. Child development is the main focus of the graduate program at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. Every year, the school hosts a math conference to help elementary teachers who are nervous about arithmetic. Instructors research early childhood math learning strategies and develop lesson plans accordingly. Jennifer McCray works at Erikson as a research professor. According to her, figuring out how a child did in arithmetic when they first entered kindergarten is the best indicator of how well they will do through the eighth grade.

Instructors are concerned that their students may inherit their phobia of arithmetic. According to math experts, this is a recurring problem in elementary school classes. Because they are required to teach every topic, elementary school teachers frequently spend less time on math in the classroom. At the summer meeting of the Erikson Institute, educators deal with mathematical topics that have practical applications in the classroom. For instance, the group used colored blocks to construct 10-sided structures. The teachers’ arithmetic abilities improved as a result of these workouts. Erikson’s Early Math Collaborative employs Lauran Solarski as a trainer. “There’s a misconception that you don’t really need to know math well in order to teach early childhood math,” she said to a gathering of educators.

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