The Power and Beauty of Mathematics

Dr. Germaine Taggart challenges traditional teaching paradigms. With lucid self-assurance, she encourages new ways of thinking about how to teach math. As testing standards and performance increasingly influence teacher assessment, Dr. Germaine Taggart stresses the importance of learning several approaches to teaching math. Taggart, who chairs one of the most successful teacher education programs in Kansas, encourages new ways of thinking.

"With such a diverse range of student abilities and academic levels, the more equipped you are to help these children learn, the better off you'll be."

Following the constructivist philosophy, Dr. Taggart encourages her future teachers to reduce their reliance on fact memorization — in part through the use of TouchMath's hands-on, sequential, personalized approach.

"I see TouchMath as a great alternative supplemental program to start students on the road to getting a sense of numbers and developing operational skills. TouchPoints are manipulatives because students are actually using a pencil to touch the points when they first start. The learning process converts to a mental manipulative."

Dr. Taggart has been with the Fort Hays State University's Teacher Education Department since 1993. Her career also includes 12 years of teaching fifth through ninth grades.

For over a decade, she's been active on the board of the Kansas Association of Teachers of Mathematics (KATM). During her tenure in this statewide organization, she has served as board secretary, vice president and president.

Immersion in KATM has given Dr. Taggart a savvy perspective from which to judge how TouchMath meets NCTM Principles and Standards, the source of math-learning benchmarks in Kansas. She cites five areas in which TouchMath helps meet today's rigorous math-achievement goals:

  • TouchMath addresses the needs of visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic learners
  • TouchMath provides a unique approach to skip (or sequence) counting, which is beneficial because it supplements the rote memorization of multiplication facts
  • TouchMath is another form of numerical representation, an alternative way of presenting numbers and mathematical operations
  • TouchMath helps accomplish a key component of today's standards: the idea of "number sense," learning to play with numbers so that concepts become real
  • TouchMath is a sequential learning process, which helps students reason through the process

"I actually see multiplication as the true strength of the program," Taggart adds. "When I was teaching in the public school system, I was aware that TouchMath worked for addition and subtraction. I did not know that there was anything being offered for multiplication and division. If I had been aware then that I could use sequence counting to support multiplication and division, many of my students would have benefited."

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