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Topic: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert and Wearne, Teaching
Replies: 40   Last Post: Jan 21, 2004 3:45 AM

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Tony Thrall

Posts: 31
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Posted: Feb 28, 1996 5:36 AM
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On 27 Feb 1996, NiYa Costley wrote:

> >"Conceptually based instruction" is used here to mean the kind of
> >teaching that fosters understanding of the reasoning and logic
> >behind mathematical ideas. Place-value concepts include grouping
> >issues (10s, 1s, etc.) and the use of units for writing and using
> >numbers. The authors maintain that while in text-based instruction
> >these ideas may not be transitted to or understood by the students,
> >in conceptually based instruction the focus is on learning why we
> >use place value and the ability to transfer this knowledge to
> >mathematical achievement.
> >

> I honestly think that it would make more sense if more clasases were
> taught in this fashion.I am a firm believer that by teaching students
> why they are doing things your life and theirs is made a lot easier.
> I know from a student who I currently tutor in mathematics that when
> taught in school the equations for doing things she can sometimes do
> the problems but, when I explain to her the reasoning behind why she
> is
> doing certain operations or procedures it becomes so much clearer and
> makes it possiblt to transfer this knowledge into other further
> studies in mathematics.


I cannot resist jumping into the fray here -- we are agreeing with
ourselves too much.

Let me first count myself to be on the side of the good. I am a strong
believer in teaching for understanding. The basis of my support, I think,
is that the learner can only build on her/his understanding. If the
student's experience of mathematics classes is that one must memorize a
bunch of facts and algorithms and catch-phrases, certainly s/he will
abandon that part of learning at the first opportunity, and write
her/himself off as incapable of learning math and subjects that rely on
math -- a major, lifetime limitation.

Yet ... My 16-year-old son has shown me that we can err in our zeal to
teach "understanding." He, along with many other students, has made up
his mind that school is a coercive system. Like prisoners, or slaves,
one learns to stay out of trouble without entirely giving up one's
dignity by doing the minimum needed to compy with the demands of the
system. (Sorry to paint such a grim picture -- he'll pull out of this
eventually.)

Therefore, when we refuse to tell him what tricks he must perform to win
the right to be left alone for awhile, and instead insist that he proclaim
he sees the light, that he do something as nebulous as "state this in your
own words" he feels angry that we're really becoming sadistic in our
coercion. We're no longer content with regimenting his behavior, we're
after his mind now.

Here's my present thinking about all this: my goal of liberal education
(in the traditional sense of that term) is a radical one. It is based on
the premise that people want to learn and that this desire must be the
driving force of learning.

There are cases, like my son's, where we -- the systemm, the grown-ups,
the people running the educational show -- fail to demonstrate or convince
the student that our aim is to empower that student to take whatever role
the student may desire in society (I'm throwing to the winds
qualifications against empowering psychopaths). Instead we demonstrate
our insistence that the student conform to her/his current role as a
student, with the promise of future assignments in society being as good
or better -- a rather bleak picture.

Okay, so far so good. Here's the controversial bit. If we cannot create
an education that is liberating for a student, then perhaps we ought, in
some cases, bow to the demand that we keep our demands simple, clear,
and fairly easy to comply with.

This is a retreat for me from my former insistence on "understanding."
But it is a tactical retreat. I do not yield on the larger goal of
encouraging individuals to take charge and take responsibility for their
own lives, and their own learning.

We can do some coaxing of children to learn what we know they need. But
as they mature I believe we are gradually forced to a different position
-- of showing how we can help, but waiting to be asked for that kind of help.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

tthrall@cats.ucsc.edu

at work: | at home:
|
Anthony D. Thrall, PhD |
Etak -- The Digital Map Company | Tony Thrall
1430 O'Brien Drive | 2131 Ashton Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Menlo Park, CA 94025-6501
|
415/328-3825 x 1300 | 415/854-6449






Date Subject Author
2/14/96
Read Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert and Wearne, Teaching
K. Ann Renninger
2/15/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Nette Witgert
2/16/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Johanna K. Peters-Burton
2/16/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Stephen Weimar
2/16/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Kristin E. Waugh
2/16/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Laurie Gerber
2/16/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Jim LaCasse
2/17/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Lyndsley Wilkerson
2/19/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Emily Mott
2/19/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Emily Mott
2/21/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Jane Ehrenfeld
2/21/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Shawn R. Beckett
2/22/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
J. Wendell Wyatt
2/22/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Lou Talman
2/22/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
John Conway
2/22/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Will Craig
2/22/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Jim LaCasse
2/23/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
John Conway
2/23/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
andrew@plan9.att.com
2/24/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Johnny Hamilton
2/25/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Mara Landers
2/26/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Nette Witgert
2/26/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Stephen Weimar
2/27/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Will Craig
2/27/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Emily Mott
2/27/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
NiYa N. Costley
2/28/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Tony Thrall
2/29/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Mara Landers
2/29/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Marksaul@aol.com
2/29/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Laurie Gerber
2/29/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
W Gary Martin
3/1/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Brian Hutchings
3/1/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Brian Hutchings
3/6/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Liza Ortiz
3/9/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Judith Haemmerle
3/13/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Richard Tchen
3/17/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Richard Tchen
3/17/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Richard Tchen
3/20/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Kristin E. Waugh
3/27/96
Read Re: Learning and Mathematics: Hiebert & Wearne, Teaching
Richard Tchen
1/21/04
Read calclus
zaheer

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