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  1. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethany1 View Post
    The way math is taught in schools is pathetic and unless you have a teacher that knows how to explain concepts you lose out. I look at my kids' mathbooks and even I don't get it. There are no explanations of how a problem is solved. They are supposed to get that in class.
    That assumes they are doing the students' job of paying attention and writing down the examples covered in class. That they are asking for clarification when they don't understand. Teachers are not mind readers.

    Do you have any idea how many students come to me not knowing basic math facts? I'm talking simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The sort of stuff that you're suppose to drill until you know it. Trouble is, there are some kids who need more drill then can be provided in class time. They don't get drilled at home, so by the time they get to me at 5th grade, they're still counting on their fingers. They are so caught up in acquiring the basics, that they can't get the more abstract concepts that we're starting in 5th grade.

    I have kids who don't understand why we call a quarter, a quarter. I am constantly astounded by the lack of background knowledge my students possess. They no longer know how to read a regular clock, so talking about a quarter of an hour, is a totally foreign concept. Students who have never realized that .o1 is like a penny and .10 is like a dime, so of course they are not the same thing.

    I've spent this week in class myself, taking a class on teaching problem solving to students - yeah 37 hours on how to teach problem solving to kids, when I should still be on vacation. The hardest thing about problem solving, is that students just want the answer - they don't care about the process. And they want the answer now. They don't want to persevere. "Let's just look up the answer on the Internet."

    Don't tell me that the job we do is pathetic. Most of us are pretty passionate and concerned about what is going on in our classrooms. We are after all paid such an exorbitant amount of money for what we do. And if you think it's an easy, cushy job, go do it yourself. I've spent on average two hours of every day of my vacation working on stuff for the upcoming academic year. I spend about 3,000 dollars of my own money on things for my classroom every year. And no, I don't get reimbursed and I don't claim it as charitable donation on my taxes.

    It's so easy to say that education is failing our children. But it's not education - it's all the other stuff that's happening in their lives, or not happening when it should be.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


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  2. #32
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,130
    + a zillion.

    I am dreading September, when I have to go meet the school staff who work with my counseling clients. I am so afraid they will think I don't understand what they are faced with. These kids come from such unimaginable situations, I don't think the average person has any idea what these kids are up against.
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  3. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    1,039
    Don't hate math, without it we would have no kick butt geometry bike frames and we'd all be riding fixies forever

    Seriously though, you don't have to be a 'natural' to get it. The best way for me is repetition. A tutor can also be a huge help for some but if you learn in very non traditional ways like I do that sometimes can be tough. I found that I have a VERY unique way of getting my mathematical answers and that though it may not have been easiest way of doing it for me it was the most logical.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    That assumes they are doing the students' job of paying attention and writing down the examples covered in class. That they are asking for clarification when they don't understand. Teachers are not mind readers.

    Do you have any idea how many students come to me not knowing basic math facts? I'm talking simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The sort of stuff that you're suppose to drill until you know it. Trouble is, there are some kids who need more drill then can be provided in class time. They don't get drilled at home, so by the time they get to me at 5th grade, they're still counting on their fingers. They are so caught up in acquiring the basics, that they can't get the more abstract concepts that we're starting in 5th grade.

    I have kids who don't understand why we call a quarter, a quarter. I am constantly astounded by the lack of background knowledge my students possess. They no longer know how to read a regular clock, so talking about a quarter of an hour, is a totally foreign concept. Students who have never realized that .o1 is like a penny and .10 is like a dime, so of course they are not the same thing.

    I've spent this week in class myself, taking a class on teaching problem solving to students - yeah 37 hours on how to teach problem solving to kids, when I should still be on vacation. The hardest thing about problem solving, is that students just want the answer - they don't care about the process. And they want the answer now. They don't want to persevere. "Let's just look up the answer on the Internet."

    Don't tell me that the job we do is pathetic. Most of us are pretty passionate and concerned about what is going on in our classrooms. We are after all paid such an exorbitant amount of money for what we do. And if you think it's an easy, cushy job, go do it yourself. I've spent on average two hours of every day of my vacation working on stuff for the upcoming academic year. I spend about 3,000 dollars of my own money on things for my classroom every year. And no, I don't get reimbursed and I don't claim it as charitable donation on my taxes.

    It's so easy to say that education is failing our children. But it's not education - it's all the other stuff that's happening in their lives, or not happening when it should be.

    Veronica
    +1 more. I have had bad teachers (my pre-calc teacher in high school was far more interested in coaching soccer than explaining trig ) but they are certainly not representative. I wish it had occurred to me to ask my teachers how to solve something more complicated than the textbook examples, which I could figure out on my own. Anything much beyond that, I was totally lost.
    I love the process of math when it works for me. It just takes me a lot of time and repetition to actually get the process and be able to apply it!

    And V--"Just give me the answer" doesn't disappear. If I had a nickel for every time one of my pre-med acquaintances would cheat on o-chem homework (or tests!), or would whine when the answers for GENERAL chemistry homework/tests weren't immediately obvious and solvable with rote formula use, I'd have no trouble paying for grad school. I don't know that it was laziness. More likely that "I want the answer so I can get a good grade in this class so I can get into med school." Of course, it means they get out of the habit of looking for answers themselves. Do they expect their patients to come in with a diagnosis in hand?
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  5. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    western Colorado
    Posts
    453
    I started in college in my 30s going into a hard science major. My math skills were not only poor, they were non-existant. I'd never taken even an algebra class in HS.

    I started college in pre-algebra (basic arithmetic). I was not the only one. The class was packed full. I worked my way up through Beginning Algebra, Int Algebra, College Algebra, Trig, Pre-Calc, Calc I & Calc II. I did well, mostly A's, but I still don't feel like a mathy person.

    You can do it.
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