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Topic: How NOT to do well in math
Replies: 2   Last Post: Oct 29, 1996 5:17 PM

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Scott Phung

Posts: 32
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: How NOT to do well in math
Posted: Oct 27, 1996 12:41 AM
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Gary <> wrote:
G> Hello everyone,
G> I teach various math classes at the University of Pittsburgh. Being
G> distressed at how students sometimes don't even want to put forth an
G> honest effort to learn, I came up with the following rules for the
G> students who are not interested in doing well. This was originally for
G> my Algebra classes, but many topics are universal. If you have any
G> comments or improvements, please post them. Thanks.
I am a student in High School, in Vancouver, Canada.

I have given my opinion on some of your following rules. Remeber
it is just an opinion.

G> How NOT to do well:
G> 1. Refuse to follow directions:
G> a. Assume that you already know mathematics.
Maybe they are already familiar with the subject, and
feel the class is going to slow?

G> b. Assume that you know more mathematics than I do.
Maybe they do (just kidding!).

G> c. Be stubborn about learning new techniques.
They probably are stubborn because they have a particular
fear for the new techniques. Somehow teach them in a way
in which they forget about the fear (ie. make the come to
the front of the class and help you demonstrate the
new technique.)

G> d. Don’t listen carefully to what is said in class.
For this, i have an easy solution. After teaching
something new, ask random students 2, 3, or even 5 times
questions about the new lesson. Or pick them randomly
to repeat what you said, or ask defintions.

G> 2. Take poor notes:
G> a. Do not copy everything I write down.
G> b. Do not copy everything exactly the way I write it down.
I really find it hard to copy down everything the teacher
says or writes down EXACTLY. Sometimes, i don't know why i copied
it down and get confused.

G> 3. Don’t care about the appearance of your problems:
The best solution is to CLEARLY tell the students
the format in which the problems are to be solved. One
example, is that for trig identities, the teacher showed
us a t-method, and demonstrated it a few times, so
i got used to it.

G> a. Write down problems in a haphazard way.
G> b. Write down problems in a sloppy way.
G> c. Be only interested in getting an answer.
G> d. Take no pride in your work.
G> 5. Don’t bother to practice:
G> a. Don’t do the homework problems.
G> b. Don’t even attempt to do extra problems.
I think this is just for students who want a A+ in
the class. You can't really force any students to do more
the want they are supposed to do if they don't want to
do it in the first place. However, i'm not saying don't
do the problems. People just do what is assigned.

G> c. Don’t use any supplementary materials.
I don't know about this one. It's up to the students
to do 'further' studies, although they will most likely
get better marks, but most people are not 'mathematically

G> 6. Don’t bother to learn from your mistakes:
G> a. Don’t ask questions.
Sometimes the students may feel challenged to ask
the instructor a question. Say, you have a grade 11 student
who is exploring calculus, and does have a good grasp on
the concepts and the fundamental thoeries, but is stoned
on one or more concepts. Do you tell him/her to give it
up because he's too young? No, but he may feel awarked
asking you about calculus when he/she is only doing
math 11 (perhaps even math 12). Or what if he has
number thoery or other types of questions?
(I know this isn't what the questions you have in mind)

G> b. Don’t seek help when you don’t understand something.
G> c. Don’t correct your mistakes on the tests.
G> d. Cry about not getting partial credit for problem.
Well, if they did do the question in the right manner,
and have showed all or most of the work, and missed the correct
answer by a simple mis-calculation, i think a half-mark
should be given. After all, you teach the students that
the answer is not the most important thing, but the way
they derive the answer (Unless it's a government exam).

G> 7. Blame someone else for your failures.

I think you can have a small 10 minute session at the end of
class and have them comment on what you may be doing wrong/funny
and see if you can address any of the comments.

Well, in conclusion, think of
your situtation as an adacdemic student
who is forced to take an art course (and this
student doesn't like art)
and is pressured to excel in art or get goods mark
in the course. The teacher should not only encourage
and guide but also take out the thier dislikeness for art.


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