The MTGK Philosophy
At MTGK, we hope to inspire in our students a passion for the lifelong learning of knowledge, to develop our students critical and conceptual thinking abilities, and to build confidence in their own voice and abilities.
To inspire a student's passion for learning, we take the curiosity naturally present in students, and try to transform that into excitement, wonder, and inspiration that comes with the revelations they make in our classrooms. These moments come in many forms: maybe a new formula is derived, or a strange and counterintuitive fact is presented, or a clever pattern is revealed. These are the key moments in our classroom that our teachers prepare for and build up to in the classroom. Our students will take these moments with them, and remember that learning is not a chore.
For example to know the area of a triangle, ½ times base times height; you can memorize this formula and solve the problem. At MTGK we approach such concepts differently, We show and explain to the students how the formula evolved. Why do you multiple by ½ and not by any other factor? What happens when you only multiply the base and height and leave out the ½?.
Example 2: Teaching the concept of multiplication algorithm. Multiplying two double digit numbers - 43x25, we all know that we should multiply the individual numbers one by one and then add them to get the answer. But why do we have to multiple and then add the numbers? Where did that concept originate? In 4th grade, we show the kids how this algorithm works and why it works. Once they understand the concept they can apply this logic to any set of numbers. They have learnt this for life!
To develop a student's mathematical abilities, they will be asked difficult questions and face challenges in the classroom and in their homework. They will be questioned over the concepts, questioned over how they reached their solutions, and questioned over their logic and reasoning. A student can often give the teacher correct answers, but will more often struggle to explain their answers. We ask our students to be thorough with their answers.
To develop a student's confidence in the face of a challenge, we at MTGK believe strongly in positive reinforcement. Our teachers praise students for making an effort and being willing participants in the classroom. We reward students who are motivated in the classroom and engage with the teacher. Of course, reaching the correct answer is important, but it is just as important to let our students know that there is something to be said for simply thinking about and trying to solve a difficult problem.
Lets get one thing clear, our teaching philosophy goes beyond mathematics. However, mathematics provides the best opportunities and tools to teach ideas and concepts, and have students attempt to apply them. In mathematics, rather than simply regurgitating facts, students must be practitioners of their knowledge. This is the key to teaching and evaluating a student's ability to apply their conceptual knowledge.
We teach in this way so we can get students to think differently and understand why they do the things they do in math. This makes math easy for them.