Attribution

While writing my mathematics autobiography I began to reflect on my past experiences with mathematics. I have always enjoyed mathematics, however when I was transitioning from elementary school to high school, there was a time where I began to hate math. Since I was in the French Immersion Program throughout my schooling I was taught most subjects in French. Throughout elementary school I learned math in the French language. It was fairly easy for me to understand the mathematical concepts that were presented in the French language for I was never taught math in the English language in a classroom setting before. However, as I transitioned into high school, my mathematics classes began to be taught in the English language. I was so accustomed to learning mathematics in the French language, that I didn’t know what any of the vocabulary/terminology was in the English language. I remember feeling frustrated and angry whenever I was being taught mathematics because I couldn’t figure out what the words meant. After a couple weeks I began to enjoy mathematics again because I was finally able to understand the vocabulary.

While looking back on my experiences with mathematics I begin to think of things that could have helped me while transitioning from the French language to the English language. I believe that if I did more hands on problems and used more problem solving strategies, I could have been able to adapt quicker to the change. I believe if I was taught through more of an inquiry approach as opposed to the traditional approach, I would have been able to continue understanding the mathematical concepts, even if I didn’t know the specific terminology. Mathematics is something that not only needs to be taught, but needs to be taught in a way where people will want to use it in their lives and will come to love it. I hear the phrase, “I hate math”, way too much in my life, and I admit I use that phrase too from time to time; however I want to begin hearing the phrase “I love math”, and to hear that we need to begin teaching mathematics in a way where ALL students will be able to learn and understand it.

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Jeremy Sundeen

said:It’s interesting you struggled transitioning from french math classes to english ones, I have taught numerous students in grade 9 who were in french immersion in grade 8, they also struggle adjusting to the vocabulary (though I try to encourage them to use french vocabulary when explaining concepts). I wonder what that says about the nature of mathematics classrooms, I know many people believe mathematics is a universal language, would you agree with that statement? If so, do you think there’s a disconnect between the nature of mathematics (whatever that is) and school math classes?

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