**VOA****慢速：提高教师的数学技能将有助于学生**

**Educators: Improving Teachers’ Math Skills Will Aid Students**

**刘立军**** ****供稿**

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**TRANSCRIPT**

Many elementary school teachers say they dislike the idea of teaching mathematics even at the most basic level. That is a cause for concern among educators.

Experts say it is critical for students to have a solid foundation in the subject because math skills build on each other. Research published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that math is a common cause of anxiety for adults, especially for women. About 90 percent of elementary teachers in the U.S. are women. The NIH study suggested that, in the field of education, anxiety can have a harmful effect on learners.

International studies have found that U.S. students are behind many other democracies in math skills. In 2017, the OECD, an international economic research group, ranked the U.S. 30th among member countries.

Since the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the math test scores in the U.S. suffered even more. Educators now say an important step to improving math skills after the pandemic is to increase the confidence of elementary school teachers.

The Erikson Institute in Chicago is a graduate school centered on child development. The school holds a yearly math conference where elementary teachers can ease their anxiety about math. Teachers find out how young children learn math and plan activities for the classroom.

Jennifer McCray is a research professor at Erikson. She said the best way to see how a child will perform in math up through eighth grade is to learn how the child did in math when they started kindergarten.

Teachers are worried that they will transfer their math fears to their students. Math specialists say this is a persistent issue in elementary school classrooms. Elementary school teachers are expected to teach every subject, often leading them to spend less classroom time on math.

During the Erikson Institute’s summer meeting, teachers work with math concepts that they can use in the classroom. For example, the group built 10-sided shapes out of colored blocks. These exercises helped the teachers with their own math skills.

Lauran Solarski is a trainer with the Early Math Collaborative at Erikson. She told a group of educators, “There’s a misbelief that in order to teach early childhood math, you don’t really need to know math well.”

Lisa Ginet is the director of operations at Erikson. She said that early childhood teachers do not necessarily need to be experts in complex math subjects like algebra and geometry. But they need to understand that many of the skills they are teaching are connected to mathematical thinking and to subjects that students will learn later in school.

Stacey Stevens works for the Kentucky Department of Education as the director of early childhood education training center. She said she changed her study major in college to early childhood education to avoid high level math. After she completed a yearlong class in math to improve her teaching, she finally started to understand how to teach the subject.

Stevens said she was passionate about teaching **preschool** because she did not want children to have the same struggles in math that she had growing up. “I wanted them to understand that four triangles make a square: to actually see it and do it and not just be told that a triangle is a fourth of a square.”

Heather Peske is the president of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research group based in Washington, D.C. She said colleges need to better prepare teachers to teach math before they get into the classroom.

The NCTQ studied teacher preparation **programs** in 2022. It found that most do not spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary. The recommendations were based on studies that linked student achievement to teacher’s math studies in college.

Peske said, “If we prepared them better, they would be stronger at both their math knowledge as well as their ability to teach math, and this would reduce their anxiety and improve student outcomes.”

I’m Faith Pirlo. And I’m Mario Ritter Jr.

**VOCABULARY**

1. **preschool** *n.* an educational stage or institution for young children before they enter formal schooling, typically between the ages of three and five 学前教育

2. **program** *n. *a structured and organized set of activities or curriculum designed to achieve specific goals or objectives, often used in the context of education or training 方案；计划

**QUESTIONS**

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**Listen to the news and choose the best answer to each question you hear.**

1. According to the passage, what has been identified as a common cause of anxiety for adults?

A. Teaching in elementary school.

B. The idea of teaching mathematics.

C. Mathematics.

D. Elementary school teachers.

2. How did the OECD rank the U.S in terms of math skills in 2017 among its member countries?

A. 20th.

B. 30th.

C. 40th.

D. 50th.

3. What does Jennifer McCray suggest is the best way to predict how a child will perform in math up through eighth grade?

A. Look at their current grade in math.

B. Learn how they did in math when they started kindergarten.

C. Ask their elementary school teachers.

D. Examine their parents’ math ability.

4. What does Lisa Ginet imply that early childhood teachers need for teaching math?

A. They need to be experts in complex math subjects.

B. They do not really need to know math well.

C. They need to understand how skills taught are related to mathematical thinking.

D. They need to have more classroom time to teach math.

5. What was the conclusion of the NCTQ’s study on teacher preparation programs in 2022?

A. Most of them spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary.

B. They are fully prepared for teaching math in elementary school.

C. Most of them do not spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary.

D. They need more teachers who are experts in complex math subjects.

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**KEY**

1. According to the passage, what has been identified as a common cause of anxiety for adults?

A. Teaching in elementary school.

B. The idea of teaching mathematics.

C. Mathematics.

D. Elementary school teachers.

【答案】C

【解析】细节题。该问题的命题出处为：Research published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that math is a common cause of anxiety for adults, especially for women. 从这句话中可以清晰看出，成年人普遍感到焦虑的原因是数学。

2. How did the OECD rank the U.S in terms of math skills in 2017 among its member countries?

A. 20th.

B. 30th.

C. 40th.

D. 50th.

【答案】B

【解析】细节题。该问题的出处为：In 2017, the OECD, an international economic research group, ranked the U.S. 30th among member countries. 从这句话中，我们可以明确得知OECD在2017年将美国在其成员国中的数学技能排名定为第30位。

3. What does Jennifer McCray suggest is the best way to predict how a child will perform in math up through eighth grade?

A. Look at their current grade in math.

B. Learn how they did in math when they started kindergarten.

C. Ask their elementary school teachers.

D. Examine their parents’ math ability.

【答案】B

【解析】细节题。问题的命题出处为：She said the best way to see how a child will perform in math up through eighth grade is to learn how the child did in math when they started kindergarten.在这段内容中，Jennifer McCray明确指出，预测一个孩子到八年级数学表现的最好方法，是看他们在幼儿园开始学习数学时的表现。

4. What does Lisa Ginet imply that early childhood teachers need for teaching math?

A. They need to be experts in complex math subjects.

B. They do not really need to know math well.

C. They need to understand how skills taught are related to mathematical thinking.

D. They need to have more classroom time to teach math.

【答案】C

【解析】推理题。问题的命题出处为：But they need to understand that many of the skills they are teaching are connected to mathematical thinking and to subjects that students will learn later in school. 从这句话中我们可以推断，Lisa Ginet认为教育早期，儿童教师需要理解他们所教授的许多技能与数学思维以及学生日后将在学校学到的科目之间的联系。

5. What was the conclusion of the NCTQ’s study on teacher preparation programs in 2022?

A. Most of them spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary.

B. They are fully prepared for teaching math in elementary school.

C. Most of them do not spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary.

D. They need more teachers who are experts in complex math subjects.

【答案】C

【解析】细节题。问题的命题出处为：It found that most do not spend as much time on elementary math content as NCTQ thinks is necessary. 从这句话我们可以明确得出，2022年NCTQ对教师预备项目的研究结论是，大多数教师在小学数学内容上的投入时间并没有达到NCTQ认为应投入的水平。

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