“Mathematics is more than a collection of formulas and symbols. It has its own language used to describe the world, and serves as the foundation of science and technology. Like any human activity, it is influenced by cultural and historical context.”
This was Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo’s opening remarks in the “Teach Talk: How to Teach and Manage your Gen Z Class (Mathematics in the Modern World Edition)” which was held by GEC last August 5. During the webinar, participants exchanged ideas on pedagogical strategies and techniques in teaching the GE course Mathematics in the Modern World.
Teaching mathematics presents its own unique set of challenges, especially with pedagogy in the new normal. Prof. Carlene Pilar-Arceo of the Institute of Mathematics focused her discussion on how to teach mathematics in the new normal. She opened her presentation with the major challenges faced by math teachers, some of which are unique to the subject. These include the modes of delivery, the students’ varied circumstances, and the perception that math is hard.
Her talk was followed by Prof. Marian Roque’s presentation on how she teaches math class, specifically Math 10. She opens her discussion by emphasizing what Math is not — it is not simply a collection of formulas or techniques for solving problems. Rather, math is a way of thinking about the world — a creative activity that helps predict the behavior of nature. She also reflected on her learnings in teaching Math 10, which include challenging her students and incorporating the latest trends when teaching the GE course.
During the open forum moderated by Prof. Jose Ernie Lope, several questions regarding pedagogy and teaching strategies were asked. Participants raised the issue that there are many topics to teach. Prof. Roque’s strategy is to discuss some topics and let the students report the others. The same strategy is employed by Prof. Pilar-Arceo. There was also a question on how students can retain their learnings in class. Prof. Roque answered that teachers can utilize assignments, with Prof. Pilar-Arceo chiming in that they can even give incentives to further retain learnings. Participants also asked questions regarding evaluation, and both professors agreed on being lenient with deadlines on requirements. The concept of ethnomathematics was also mentioned, which is the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture. Indigenous practices serve as a starting point for appreciating how mathematics is everywhere; and, good examples for teachers to balance the dominant Western orientation of math as a GE course.
“Teach Talk: Mathematics in the Modern World” concludes the LINANGAN: GE Faculty Development Extension program that started last August 2021 as part of GEC’s service to the public. LINANGAN webinars were attended by various teachers from different SUCs, LUCs, private and special HEIs, and UP CUs across the Philippines who spurred pragmatic and thought-provoking discussions on respective GE courses explored on each webinar. All webinars were offered free of charge and can also be viewed on GEC’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Teachers may also access various resources available on GEC’s LINANGAN webpage.