Transition In Mathematics Learning

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There are a number of changes that arise when students continue their studies outside their home country. In particular, these are changes that are concerned with being immersed in a different education system. When I moved from the Philippines to New Zealand in 2012, I experienced an educational transition that significantly affected my mathematics learning. Two such changes that I faced are language I used in my learning and type of mathematical understanding I developed. These changes that were brought about by the educational transition I made influenced my mathematics learning in several ways, both positively and negatively.
Language is one of the biggest influences that affected my mathematics learning. Firstly, learning mathematics in
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The medium of instruction used in New Zealand is English which is similar to that in the Philippines. The language is used in textbooks, in assessments, and in teaching the mathematical concepts. Learning mathematics in English in both the Philippines and New Zealand is a significant factor in my learning as this promoted a good foundation of my mathematical knowledge. Generally, students are able to make sense of mathematical ideas when they have a clear understanding of the mathematical language used in the classroom (Anthony & Walshaw, 2009). As I made the transition in learning mathematics in New Zealand, I was able to apply my prior knowledge in learning new concepts because the mathematical terminologies, syntax and formulas are the same. This demonstrates the role of one of the two key features of social constructivists’ perspectives of learning: schema. McChesney (2009) mentions the role of schema as networks of interconnected knowledge that can be associated with different topics. As mathematics was taught in English in the Philippines, I developed relevant schema that I am able to activate in learning new mathematical concepts in my current tertiary study. Hence, learning mathematics in a similar language of instruction served as a good training ground for me as it fostered my understanding of basic mathematical knowledge that I am able to relate to my …show more content…
Understanding mathematics relationally involves tackling a question wherein the student knows what to do and the reasons why; it also includes a student’s ability to see how different mathematical concepts are interrelated (Skemp, 1972). The transition I made in my mathematics learning was difficult because my instrumental understanding of mathematics was not sufficient for me to do well in secondary and tertiary levels in New Zealand. In response to this, I persisted in learning mathematics relationally and my learning was driven by the assessment practices used by mathematics teachers. The main difference between the assessment practice in the Philippines and that in New Zealand is the former focuses more on numerical skills and getting the right answers but the latter focuses on relational thinking and how a student arrives at the answer. In New Zealand, I observed that a student’s mathematical ability is assessed on the context of real-life situations. As I began to develop a relational understanding of mathematics, I was able to make connections between the practical aspects in mathematical concepts and how they are relevant in my daily life. Learning mathematics relationally made it easier for me to remember the concepts I have learnt because I started seeing how these concepts interrelate and how they form

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