There are nine important skills that kids in the current school system need to learn in order to get prepared to the ever-changing world. These are: solving problems, asking questions, finding passion, tackling projects, independence, tolerance, compassion, being happy without the help of parents, and ability to deal with change (Babauta, 2016). The skill of solving problems prepares a learner for any job. Learning to ask various questions enables a child to learn on his or her own. Passion enhances commitment. Tackling more projects promotes confidence. Developing the skill of independence helps kids to learn how to manage themselves. Tolerance enables them to understand the importance of appreciating cultural and other group differences. Compassion allows a child to learn how to work well with other people in the society. Learning how to be happy without getting assistance from parents promotes independent thinking. Being able to deal with change enhances acceptance of change.

Problems before Procedures

Posing a problem before giving out the procedure that is used to solve it is an important method of teaching mathematics. Unlike traditional methods, this approach allows the teacher to assess students’ prior knowledge. It also enables learners to generate important math ideas (Allen, 2013).

The problems before procedures method fosters conceptual understanding by way of promoting critical thinking skills instead of memorization of math concepts (Allen, 2013). This model also encourages Standards for Mathematical Practices (SMPs) by allowing students to explore important math concepts.

This is not the first time I come across an exploratory task just like this one. Such tasks are common in sciences. Science subjects require learners to carry out experiments in order to investigate ideas and concepts (Niess et al., 2016).

My experience as a math student is that using problems before procedures is an important tool for learning the subject. The method enables learners to become critical thinkers (Niess et al., 2016). By doing so, it makes them active participants who can contribute important ideas in a math class.

Attributes of 21st Century Learning, and How to Weave Them into Learning Activities

21st century learning emphasizes on preparing students for the future (Johnson, 2013). Some of the major attributes of this learning include getting equipped with strong content knowledge, demonstration of independence, critique of information, and using technology strategically (Trilling et al., 2009; Niess et al., 2016). The learning of this century basically focuses on ensuring that students are equipped with strong skills that can enable them to become all-rounded professionals. There are various ways through which the learning of the 21st century can be incorporated into the learning activities of my classroom. These include embracing technology, and ensuring that I acquire important skills that are applicable in real daily life (Trilling et al., 2009). This is what can enable me to survive in a century that is considered to be difficult by many.

Summary of the NCTM Article

In his article, Allen (2013) provides information about one method that is useful in the learning and teaching mathematics. According to the author, math skills can be learnt by first posing problems to learners before presenting the procedures they can use to solve them. Posing a math question makes it possible for the prior knowledge of students to be assessed.

In the procedure presentation phase, learners are given time to exhibit their creativity by coming up with important mathematics concepts and ideas. For instance, they can use symbols to solve various algebraic equations. The process enables them to think deeper and reason carefully. It makes learners see mathematics as a subject they want and can do.

How Teachers can Help Students Learn to Apply Math and Problem-Solving Skills outside the Classroom, and Emphasis on “Depth”

Teachers should help students to learn and apply math concepts, and think of problem solving outside the classroom. This can be achieved by linking real life questions with math problems (Niess et al., 2016; Teaching Channel, 2021). Teachers need to ensure that learners understand math problems well before solving them. This can give them time to come up with the best solutions to such problems. The same actually happens in real life. Individuals need to understand the problems they are facing well before responding to them.

Learning or teaching of mathematics calls for emphasis on “depth.” Depth in this case generally refers to the degree to which individual topics or areas of learning are explored and focused upon (Egan, 2011). This aspect requires the teacher to introduce a concept, explain it, and allow students to practice it. The approach helps to ensure that learners understand various concepts of math well.

References:

Allen, K. C. (2013). Problems before Procedures: Systems of Equations. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Retrieved from https://www.nctm.org/

Babauta, L. (2016). 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn. The Good Men Project. Retrieved from https://goodmenproject.com/families/9-essential-skills-kids-should-learn-admc/

Egan, K. (2011). Learning in Depth: A Simple Innovation that can Transform Schooling. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Johnson, B. (2013). College and Career Ready: Soft Skills Are Crucial. EduTopIa. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/college-career-ready-soft-skills-crucial-ben-johnson

Niess, M., Driskell, S., & Hollebrands, K. F. (2016). Handbook of Research on Transforming Mathematics Teacher Education in the Digital Age. Hershey, Pennsylvania: IGI Global.

Teaching Channel. (2021). Common Core: High School. Teaching Channel. Retrieved from https://learn.teachingchannel.com/video/common-core-state-standards-high-school

Trilling, B., Fadel, C., & Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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