Proposed Session Title

Paper 1: How Differing Interpretations of Making Mathematics Fun Influence Teaching Practice

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Abstract of proposed session

I investigated an experienced teacher and a beginning teacher who held similar beliefs about making mathematics learning fun yet held different interpretations of implementation. I found when a teacher equated fun with problem solving, her classroom practice included activities with higher-level thinking skills. In contrast, a teacher who defined fun as students’ enjoyment layered manipulatives and group work on top of procedures. Therefore, teachers need opportunities to reflect on the nature of student understanding as a precursor to shaping their views of fun.

Negative phrases and attitudes toward mathematics have become commonplace in popular culture. Perhaps in response to this view, teachers often profess a desire to make mathematics fun for their students. But what do they mean by this phrase, and what classroom practices do they employ in the pursuit of this goal? In this paper, I report on two elementary mathematics teachers’ interpretations of making mathematics fun and how it influenced their classroom practices, and I speculate how teacher educators can influence these interpretations.

Keywords

Fun, Mathematics, Student enjoyment, Mathematics instruction

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Paper 1: How Differing Interpretations of Making Mathematics Fun Influence Teaching Practice

I investigated an experienced teacher and a beginning teacher who held similar beliefs about making mathematics learning fun yet held different interpretations of implementation. I found when a teacher equated fun with problem solving, her classroom practice included activities with higher-level thinking skills. In contrast, a teacher who defined fun as students’ enjoyment layered manipulatives and group work on top of procedures. Therefore, teachers need opportunities to reflect on the nature of student understanding as a precursor to shaping their views of fun.

Negative phrases and attitudes toward mathematics have become commonplace in popular culture. Perhaps in response to this view, teachers often profess a desire to make mathematics fun for their students. But what do they mean by this phrase, and what classroom practices do they employ in the pursuit of this goal? In this paper, I report on two elementary mathematics teachers’ interpretations of making mathematics fun and how it influenced their classroom practices, and I speculate how teacher educators can influence these interpretations.