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Teaching Mathematics: Overcoming Miscommunication

Address common misconceptions and improve the mathematical literacy of your secondary school learners.

A female teacher standing at the front of a class, teaching mathematical concepts,  probability and statistics.

Teaching Mathematics: Overcoming Miscommunication

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Examine the importance of language in the teaching and learning of mathematics

On this four-week course from the University of Southern Queensland, you’ll explore how language and communication impact mathematical teaching and learning processes and develop practical strategies to improve your learners’ understanding of maths.

Explore the connection between effective communication, mathematical literacy, and numeracy

Mathematical language is complex and, as such, can lead to misunderstandings, with many students struggling to switch between everyday language and mathematical terminology.

You’ll learn how to use language appropriately, using technical terminology clearly and accurately.

Reflecting on your own students, you’ll explore strategies to successfully communicate complex ideas in a way that delivers an equitable experience for all learners in your classroom.

Dispel common misconceptions about algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics

Examining a different mathematical topic each week, you’ll consider why students find some concepts troublesome and how this can be addressed.

You’ll investigate various negative beliefs surrounding mathematics, and develop responses that stimulate engagement.

Learn how to explain mathematical concepts using real world applications

Excellent mathematics teachers have the ability to engage students, making the curriculum not only accessible, but relevant to everyday life.

You’ll discover how to contextualise your students’ learning by highlighting real life applications, helping them ground their understanding of new concepts in realistic terms.

You’ll finish this course with a deeper understanding of mathematical language and effective communication. You’ll be able to develop your own teaching strategies and communication skills to explain complex concepts and deliver engaging, relatable lesson content.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    The role of communication in teaching maths

    • Welcome

      Welcome to Teaching mathematics: overcoming miscommunication.

    • Introduction to mathematics

      This activity covers what mathematics is, what makes a great maths teacher, common beliefs about maths, and what is needed to successfully teach maths.

    • Understanding the connection between language and mathematics

      The language of mathematics is both complex and abstract. Many misconceptions in mathematics arise out of problems of communication as well as an inability to express mathematical concepts appropriately.

  • Week 2

    Teaching numbers and algebra

    • Why do we need to understand algebra?

      It is important to understand why we need algebra so that you can pass this knowledge onto your students.

    • Attitudes towards algebra

      Algebra is often one of the most hated parts of math, with students asking why they need to learn it. In this topic, we will look at why people need to learn algebra, why it seems so hard, and reflect on our own attitudes.

    • Troublesome concepts in algebra

      Many problems students encounter in mathematics are caused by misconceptions, problems of language and communication, and anxiety around mathematics.

  • Week 3

    Teaching measurement and geometry

    • Why are measurement and geometry important?

      This topic explores how measurement and geometry is used in everyday life and why it is important.

    • How do we teach and understand geometry?

      Learn some theories and techniques to effectively teach geometry.

    • Troublesome concepts in measurement and geometry

      There are a number of common misconceptions in measurement and geometry that can undermine the student's ability to learn.

  • Week 4

    Teaching probability and statistics

    • Understanding probability and statistics

      Probability and statistics are taking on an increased importance in a modern world that is increasingly data driven. In a world in which jobs may become increasingly automated, being statistically literate may be essential.

    • How do probability and statistics connect to the real world?

      Like measurement and geometry, probability and statistics is an excellent area of the curriculum to stimulate a student’s interest through discussion of real life applications.

    • Troublesome concepts in probability and statistics

      There are a number of common misconceptions in probability and statistics.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the importance of language in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Critically reflect on the appropriate use of language by both the student and teacher in the mathematics classroom.
  • Develop enhanced student engagement practices based on clearer communication with students.
  • Identify and explain common mathematical misconceptions.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for educators at secondary school level who want to improve their communication skills when teaching mathematical concepts.

It’s particularly suited to those new to teaching mathematics, including newly qualified teachers, or those considering a career in teaching.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course, you will need a word processing program and a calculator.

Who will you learn with?

I am Head of School of Maths, Physics, and Computing at UniSQ. I have taught first year mathematics courses and I have strong links with schools providing programs and activities for school students.

With a background in secondary maths education, I now teach introductory statistics and work with preservice maths teachers at tertiary level.

Who developed the course?

University of Southern Queensland

UniSQ provides career-focused, quality on-campus and online education and has done for over 50 years. UniSQ has scored five stars for employability and internationalisation (QS Stars rankings, 2019) and is Australia’s No. 1 university for the highest graduate starting salary (Good Universities Guide 2018-20).

  • Established

    1967
  • Location

    Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich in Queensland, Australia

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$27.99 /month

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$69/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access

Free

Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 6 Jan 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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