Posted: Jun 3, 2010 5:16 PM by Jonathan: > > To add to this problem, most of those who write > literature for the general > population write it at lower levels than that similar > literature from some > years ago to make it readable to as many people as > possible. If those people > read things in which they don't find any new words, > then their > vocabulary won't grow. Vocabulary grows only when > you encounter > new words. Thus, people's literacy tends to remain > at about the > same level it did when they left school.
Most reading that adults do, newspapers, magazines, many novels, is at about a 4th grade reading level.
> > I have encountered many students who feel that they > cannot learn even > the most basic of mathematics. The students with the > worst of math > anxiety are the ones who give up early and quit > participating in > the course or are the ones who write discussion posts > that are vague > and lack any real detail and certainly lack any real > math in them. > I will have to admit that they are good at finding > ways to talk about > math while avoiding doing the math itself. Trying to > get those students > to show any detail in math discussions is like to > trying to pull teeth. > > These students need to see themselves actually > succeeding at learning > some math before they can begin to believe that they > are capable of > learning math.
Exactly! I have worked with the most sullen of students, students who Robert would say had a bad attitude and bad habits, students who grumble, "Math is stupid, why are you making me do this, I don't care, I'm not going to try." It makes me want to cry when I see how little it takes, just a glimmer of genuine success (and someone who believes in them), and their faces light up (when they think no one is looking, of course, or if you catch them off guard.) Saying, "I can't do this because I am not trying" is much more tolerable than "I can't do this because I'm stupid." So they stop trying.
> Unfortunately, many of their previous > math classes > didn't give these students such chances, and many of > these students have > told me that some of their previous math teachers > were impatient and > belittling to those who couldn't learn as quickly as > their teachers > wanted them to learn or if they couldn't learn a > certain way. And the > online classes I teach lack the resources these > students need because > the class is set up as if most of the students taking > it had learned > this stuff before, had forgotten it, and simply need > a quick review. > But I can tell that most of the students had never > learned this stuff > before.
This is such a problem with our mile wide and inch deep curriculum. Little is taught to mastery, so many students lose it completely.
> Trying to get students through arithmetic in > 8 weeks who > had never learned it before doesn't make sense.
Which is why we need to catch them in elementary school.
> > Of course. Reading mathematics is not the same as > reading a novel > or a newspaper article.
I think it is taken for granted that students will learn this, and consequently reading math isn't taught well.
> I don't believe any of my previous teachers in > elementary school > scheduled things so that this became an issue; I > don't recall having > to try to finish an assignment as quickly as I could > so that I didn't > have to miss recess. And I believe that the only > kids who didn't > get recess are the ones who had misbehaved earlier > that day. >
Gosh, you're lucky. Happens here all the time, and to my students all the time. Or if they are not kept in from recess, they have mounds of homework, hours of it even in elementary school. So they learn to work fast and they learn to not care how well it is done, despite starting out as very conscientious students.