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Discussion: Research Area
Topic: Mathematical maturity and lower-order knowledge & skills


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Subject:   RE: Explaining intuitive leaps
Author: Craig
Date: Aug 5 2004
Level of success getting students to explain intuitive leaps...

Limited, which is probably what you would expect.  In a very few instances, I
have seen students try to verbalize, then other students join in and provide
feedback and even fill in some of the pieces.  But such interaction is fairly
rare.

Other times, students don't have the vocabulary yet (or the vocabulary is so new
that they haven't connected the words to the mental processes).  I try to help
them assemble thoughts by trying to make sense of hand-waving, to give them
the vocabulary they are searching for.

The much bigger challenge for me is to get the student to make the leap--we
get kids who were accustomed to being beat up for being smart, and they're a
little fearful, at first, of letting their brilliance show.  And, of course,
once they figure out they're actually safe, they also usually figure out that
they're too cool to show enthusiasm.  Teenagers are wonderful, enigmatic
creatures.

Another challenge is to "slow down" discussion when a different-style learner
makes an intuitive leap... other students might see immediately what the student
was thinking, but I have to exercise control so that the "thinker" can put
thoughts into words and construct/reinforce a personal learning experience.

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