Search All of the Math Forum:
Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by
NCTM or The Math Forum.



Re: How NOT to do well in math
Posted:
Oct 27, 1996 12:41 AM


Gary <gdhart@pop.pitt.edu> wrote: G> Hello everyone, G> 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. G> 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> 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. DonÃÂt 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. DonÃÂt 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 tmethod, 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> G> 5. DonÃÂt bother to practice: G> a. DonÃÂt do the homework problems. G> b. DonÃÂt 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. DonÃÂt 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 motivated'.
G> 6. DonÃÂt bother to learn from your mistakes: G> a. DonÃÂt 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. DonÃÂt seek help when you donÃÂt understand something. G> c. DonÃÂt 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 miscalculation, i think a halfmark 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.
Scott.



