The Faculty of Education (FEd) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) conducted its 8th EDUKussion forum entitled “Demathtifying Math for Everyday Life” on 21 November 2019 at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL), UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.
Teachers and principals, from basic education institutions from Bay, Calauan, and Los Baños, attended the forum. The forum was also participated in by 18 teachers through video conferencing at the UPOU Mega Learning Hubs in Cebu and Davao.
The UPOU Chancellor, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, represented by the Faculty of Education (FEd) Dean, Dr. Ricardo T. Bagarinao commenced the 8th EDUKussion program. In her speech, Dr. Bandalaria stated that the education of the future – which she termed as Education 6.0 – puts people at the center of innovation and anchors on the sustainable development goals. She also mentioned the important role of basic education, particularly secondary education principals and teachers, in equipping the young learners to be prepared for the fast changing world of life and work and current demands of industrialization.
Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante, an Associate Professor from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the current Program Chair of the Diploma in Mathematics Teaching Program, UPOU, was invited in this year’s EDUKussion Forum that focused on current challenges and issues on teaching Mathematics. In his presentation, he highlighted the relationship between mathematics diplomacy and leadership and mathematics communication; and quantitative literacy and mathematical thinking and mathematics education. He also emphasized that applied math serves as a bridge between theoretical math and its application areas to impact on knowledge, skills, products, services, and policies.
Dr. Rabajante also stated that applied mathematics is mathematics with a heart – with theories as its head; math modeling as its heart; methods and algorithms as its arms; and application areas as its legs. The real world problems, according to Dr. Rabajante, cannot be directly solved; hence, mathematics allows people to make justified assumptions based on the real world problems and provide analysis, interpretation, sensitivity evaluation, and validation which can then be used as solutions.
Throughout his speech, Dr. Rabajante underlined that it is an increasing challenge for educators as digital age puts a premium on numeracy skills. He also stated that the presence of computers lessen the burden by doing the maths, but increase the need for good numeracy to utilize this effectively. He remarked that in order to make a difference, one must: (1) be aware of what to say in math, especially around children; (2) challenge those who say they cannot do math; (3) inform the math community about those who make negative remarks about maths; and (4) speak to young people about the value of maths in everyday life and work.
The open forum followed Dr. Rabajante’s lecture, and both face-to-face and online participants raised questions and shared insights regarding the talk.
During the open forum, participants raised the issues of interdisciplinarity in teaching math, which is important in enabling students see the interconnectivity of math concepts with concepts in other disciplines, teachers’ capacity building to effectively teach math especially in basic education, and increasing students’ appreciation of math as a subject. Dr. Rabajante provided some pieces of advice such as using concrete examples in dealing with math operations and allowing students solve mathematical problems using their own technique.
Dr. Bagarinao ended the activity hoping that math would be approached interdisciplinarily so that the minds of the young learners will be trained to see the interdisciplinarity of things. He also hoped that the conversation would continue and may involve other fields such as Chemistry, Physics, Arts, and/or Humanities being linked together.