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Re: Learning and Mathematics: Schoenfeld, Metacognition
Posted:
Mar 27, 1996 3:09 AM


Nette Witgert <jwitger1@swarthmore.edu> wrote: >The Schoenfeld article on metacognition started me thinking about how >teachers can effectively introduce math to students such that they do >think about the "why" and learn to apply what they learn to the real >world. It seems to me that this promises to be difficult for teachers >dealing with elementary school kids, who don't always have the capacity >to delve into the "why" of something. For certain situations and for >initially learning some mathematical processes, I am under the >impression that perhaps rote memorization or plugging the numbers into >the formula may be the best thing to do. I feel this way because >throughout elementary school, most kids still enjoy math. The typical >aversion to math comes in high school and college, because this is when >math starts to get a little more difficult and abstract. It is at this >level when teachers should really concentrate on helping students >understand why math works the way it does, and students should be able >to make the appropriate connections to the real world. On the other >hand, maybe college level students are not able to keep up with the new >way math is being taught to them unless they've had the "why" type of >instruction since early on...
I believe that applications can be made to the lives of the students without the abstractness. For example, a teacher could teach basic arithmetic by asking questions about the prices in the cafeteria. A word problem like, "If you have $2.00 and you want to eat a sandwich and a drink, how much will it cost? Do you have enough money? If you have enough, how much change will you receive?" is very applicable to their daily lives and will reinforce decimals, arithmetic, and real world thinking.
I also agree that students will handle the why questions better in college if they have prior experience with the questioning. I don't believe that why questions should be an activity in the classroom, but instead they should represent a way of teaching mathematics. You can do mathematics and understand mathematics at the same time. It means covering less material and convering it well but I believe that it can be done.
Thanks, Dana



