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Topic: Re: Simplifying Algebraic Expressions with Subtracted Expressions
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Posts: 1,507
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Simplifying Algebraic Expressions with Subtracted Expressions
Posted: Nov 17, 2013 12:14 AM
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> On Nov 16, 2013, at 4:03 PM, Pam <>
> wrote:

> > The biggest difference I see is that the algebra
> student may be able to go through the motions
> mechanically, using memorized procedures
> Is it possible Pam that you don't know what they are
> doing in their head, and that it's anything but
> mechanical?

> Bob Hansen

You misunderstood. For those of us who did well in algebra, I would say that most of us had a lot going on in our heads that was anything but mechanical. In my statement above, I said "may". Unfortunately, there are students who approach algebra mechanically, through memorized procedures, because they lack fundamental understanding. Also unfortunately, they think the memorized procedures are the only way to approach problems, that procedures *are* the algebra, so to speak. And, no, although they may be able to solve simple problems that follow exactly what they understand of the procedure, they are not generally successful. Prior to remediation, that is.

As Wayne says, this won't happen with a solid grounding, but I think the relatively small percentage who get that solid grounding in the US had to do so mostly on their own. For the reasons that Liping Ma has found in her analyses of US math education, among others.


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