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Topic: memorization & teaching styles
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Daniel Groom

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/6/04
memorization & teaching styles
Posted: Apr 23, 2001 9:25 AM
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I am a junior in an undergraduate math/secondary education program. I
am trying to learn what teaching styles work the best to help students
learn and understand the material being taught. I have gained some
valuable input from current teachers through this discussion.
However, I also have an opinion on this topic. I have experience
working with students from lower level elementary through college
level math.
Some students really understand the concepts behind doing mathematical
procedures. These are usually the same ones who have no trouble
memorizing basic formulas, such as area formulas, pythagorean theorem,
etc. However, there are many students who memorize formulas long
enough to be tested on them and then forget them. This type of
learning must be prevented if students are going to have any usable
knowledge when they are done with school.
For example, I tutored a junior in high school just last week for the
SATs. Her parents were afraid that she would have trouble with the
math part even through her grades in school are good. When I heard
that she had a 97 average in Pre-Calculus, I assumed that her parents
worrying was unwarranted. However, when I began to work with her, I
realized what the problem was. She had crammed for every math test
for some time and really knew very little about the basic concepts.
In fact on one problem on which she became stuck, I questioned her
about what was wrong and she replied that she didn't have her
calculator and needed to know what twelve minus five was. I tried not
to act shocked, but you can imagine what was going through my head.
The point is that she will study her review book and probably do okay
on SATs, but will anything she "learns" really help her in the long
run.
The other thing that I found interesting was that she told me that the
reason that she is bad at math and that she hates math is that she has
had boring teachers every year for quite some time. I really don't
think that this is just an excuse. While I know that putting variety
into teaching math is often quite difficult, I firmly believe that the
students level of understanding after such teaching is well worth the
effort.




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