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Topic: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Replies: 39   Last Post: Oct 16, 2010 10:33 PM

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Jonathan Groves

Posts: 2,068
From: Kaplan University, Argosy University, Florida Institute of Technology
Registered: 8/18/05
Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Posted: Oct 8, 2010 3:53 AM
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On 10/7/2010 at 2:10 am, Haim wrote:

> Jonathan Groves Posted: Oct 5, 2010 6:49 PM
>

> >Whatever all the problems are with adult innumeracy,
>
> >using the current widely available junk commercial
> >textbooks and the teaching that is similar to the

> junk
> >in these books do not help solve the problem. Here
> are
> >some reasons why (this is not an exhaustive list):
>
> No need to go on. I agree most modern textbooks
> oks are awful. But you simply must remember how we
> got to this point. It was observed that mathy books
> did not work well for many students. Precisely in
> the attempt to reach more students, the mathiness was
> gradually leached out of the texts and out of the
> curriculum so that, today, there is very little math
> in math education.
>
> Now, perhaps you think that struggling students
> nts cannot learn math when no math is there. Not
> only are you quite right about that, but even mathy
> students will not learn much math when there is no
> math. So this trend towards leaching the math out of
> mathematics is a dead loss all around. Thank you,
> Education Mafia.
>
> By all means, put the math back into the math
> ath texts. Then, you will do a better job teaching
> the better students. You will certainly fail,
> through no fault of yours, to teach the students who
> lack either the aptitude or the interest in
> mathematics. And you will have come around full
> circle.





Haim,

Your post does remind me that I want to write better math books
not only to help those struggling students to learn math, especially
those who really do want to learn genuine math and not the fake stuff
passed off as math they had seen for years, I do want to help those
who really might have the ability to learn math but couldn't stomach
the awful-tasting math they had tried to learn in school. For those
students, I want to help them see that math does not have to be
that way, that math might very well offer them something better than
what school math has tried to offer them thus far. I hate the
thought of students who have the ability to learn math and who
could learn to enjoy or at least appreciate math and learn to use
it meaningfully but could not learn it and learned to detest
math simply because of bad teaching and bad textbooks. In short,
I want to try to help students of any ability to give them a
chance to reach their potential in mathematics.




> Perhaps you despair of being able to solve the
> the problem of teaching math to adults. I think it
> is out of your hands. Partly, the students come to
> you far too late. And partly, it is a faux problem.
> Many of these adult students do not learn math
> h because they do not want to. Maybe we should just
> leave them alone.





Who knows which of the struggling students, at least up front,
want to try to learn math? Who knows in advance which of these
students might take interest in math that teaches them the
sense behind mathematics? I can't blame them for not taking
interest in math that doesn't make sense to them, especially when
the course begins to make no sense early on.

For some, maybe a good number of them, it might be too late to
reach them. But I don't think anyone can always predict in advance
which students are the kinds where all is lost and which ones
can still be reached. Some signs do indicate this, but not all
students give such signs up front whereas others give such signs
but do not really mean it (for instance, some say they are
excited about the course but then disappear suddenly after a week
or so or their participation does not stop entirely but does drop
considerably):

1. Those students who say that they don't really care if they
learn anything or not just as long as they pass are almost
certainly the kinds where all is lost.

2. Those students who say they want to learn and wish math made
better sense to them, especially if they show some interest in
trying to find out some more about what mathematicians do or how
they think about math or why we like math, are probably the kinds of
students we still have some hope of reaching, even if they are
struggling students.

Of course, these signs are not hard-and-fast signs, but they can give
us some idea up front.

I just wish to offer them some real math and to give them at least
a reasonable chance to try to make sense of math and let them
decide from there what they want to do with math. If the real
math doesn't appeal to them and they don't want to learn, then they
don't want to learn. At least then they have made the decision
for themselves because they then have based their decision on
what real math is and not on what some distorted view of math
says about math.

As for that last point, I know I would feel quite cheated if many
of my past teachers have given me a distorted view of Shakespeare's
plays by instead having me read "plays by Shakespeare" that are
not his plays and are bad ones and then later to discover that
Shakespeare did not write those plays, that the plays he actually
wrote are plays I would enjoy. In that kind of scenario, I know
my decision not to like Shakespeare was not my own decision but
someone else's: How could I make my own decision about Shakespeare
if I have no idea what he wrote? That did not happen to me, of
course, and I'm thankful it did not.




> Finally, you write,
>

> >Colleges and universities need an effective way to
> >identify students with these difficulties and then

> have
> >them take appropriate coursework on reading skills
> >before progressing to regular college or remedial
> >coursework in other subjects.

>
> Are you sure that students who cannot read belong
> ong in college? You may want to rethink that.
>
> Haim
> We're buying shrimp, guys.




Those students who can't read don't belong in college, but if they
are interested in going to college, they do deserve a chance to
at least try to prepare themselves for college, to see if college is
a good choice for them to make. But if a college is genuinely
interested in helping such students and wants to try to offer classes
that can help them, then that is the individual college's decision.
But that decision of theirs is not a bad one as long as they don't
cheat students out of their money by accepting crowds of these kinds of
students but then the classes they offer are clearly not going to
help more than just a handful of them. Kaplan is changing their
policies to allow these kinds of students to try without having to
pay tuition until they are fully admitted.

If instead they prefer that such students get help elsewhere before
applying to college, then that is their decision, too.

By the way, these schools I teach for make student retention such
a high priority that the administration is likely to discipline
professors who advise students to drop their classes, or at least
their talk about student retention strongly suggests that this is
the case. However, I haven't heard of any professors getting in
trouble for advising students to drop their classes, but I have
heard of professors getting in trouble for neglecting deadlines
or failing to follow other policies such as changing assignments
or discussion questions.

I don't know what would happen if we either explictly say or even
simply imply that a student doesn't belong in college because the
student has poor study habits, cannot think, cannot read, etc.



Jonathan Groves


Date Subject Author
9/28/10
Read Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
9/28/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
9/28/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Bishop, Wayne
9/29/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
9/29/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/2/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Bishop, Wayne
9/29/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/2/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Bishop, Wayne
9/30/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Richard Strausz
9/30/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/2/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Bishop, Wayne
9/30/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
9/30/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/1/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/1/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Robert Hansen
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/1/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/1/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Jonathan Groves
10/3/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/4/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Jonathan Groves
10/4/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Joel
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Joe Niederberger
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Mark Ge
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Greg Goodknight
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Kelly Stacy
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Dave L. Renfro
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Dave L. Renfro
10/5/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Robert Hansen
10/7/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/9/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy
10/7/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Dave L. Renfro
10/7/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Robert Hansen
10/7/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Dave L. Renfro
10/8/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Jonathan Groves
10/10/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Haim
10/11/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
Shimon Zimbovsky
10/16/10
Read Re: Why More Students Rely on Tutors
GS Chandy

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