FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 3, Issue 23
Mathematics is one of the most interesting subjects during the academic year for some of the students. But in contrary to that, this fact can’t be denied that most of the students dislike mathematics. I, myself was one of such students during my school who disliked mathematics very much.
In order to find the reasons behind these negative feelings towards mathematics, I researched at my Learning Center. After evaluating all of my students, the following were the main reasons which I found relevant and authentic:
According to the research, approximately 6% of school-age children have significant math deficiencies, and among students classified as learning disabled, arithmetic difficulties are as pervasive as reading problems. This does not mean that all reading disabilities are accompanied by arithmetic learning problems, but it does mean that math deficiencies are widespread and in need of equivalent attention and concern.
Parents and teachers should keep in mind that such students in their classes are not burdens for them. They also need your attention as well as the others do. If the child is not getting a concept, try to give them extra time to clear their concepts rather than failing them in an examination.
Recently, increased attention has focused on students who demonstrate challenges learning mathematics skills and concepts that are taught in school across the grade levels. Most of the parents, educators, and researchers are noticing that some students seem perplexed learning simple math skills that many take for granted. Disliking mathematics and problem learning the skills related to mathematics do not lie in a same plane.
If a person dislikes math, then a teacher can use different strategies to their level of interest, but if a person is continuously getting low grades in math, then this problem might indicate that he/she may have mathematic disability.
Fortunately, researchers are now paying their
valuable attention to help students who struggle learning basic
mathematics skills, mastering more advance mathematics (e.g., algebra),
and solving math problems. Before learning any thing, we should know
that what Math Disability is.
If a child has difficulty making sufficient school progress in mathematics similar to that of her peer group despite the implementation of effective teaching practices over time.
If a child is not able to learn basic skills and
concepts of math according to his/her age level, then a child is termed
as “Math Disabled.”
Brain scans can also explain math problems in a
child. In order to find Math Disability, the new research used scans of
brain activity in the intraparietal sulcus - the area known to be
involved in processing number information.
The scientific name for Math Disability is Dyscalculia. It means “a severe or complete inability to calculate”. Remember that the terms learning disabilities in mathematics, Math Disability and Dyscalculia are same.
People with Dyscalculia may have better than average language skills and be good at sciences, the creative arts and even some aspects of mathematics. But they tend to have difficulty visualizing number sequences and the passage of time.
Teachers, tutors, psychologists, master trainers, etc., can use different observant skills and testing to find out whether a child has Math Disability or not.
When a child is identified as having a math disability, his difficulty may stem from problems in one or more of the following areas:
Memory problem is one of the most common problems found among the school going children. Few of the students have a problem of memorizing things effectively, and they used to forget every thing in a short span of time. This problem may affect a child’s math performance in several ways.
A child might have memory problems that interfere
with his ability to regain basic arithmetic facts quickly. In the upper
grades, memory problems may influence a child’s ability to recall the
steps needed to solve more difficult word problems and in solving
algebraic equations, or to remember what specific symbols.
Students with a math disability may have trouble
because of delays in cognitive development, which hinders learning and
processing information. Such developmental problems may lead to the
problem in understanding relationships between numbers, solving word
problems, understanding number systems, etc.
Visual-spatial problems may interfere with a
child’s ability to perform math problems correctly. This may include
place value sums, trouble in interpreting maps, misaligning numerals in
columns for calculation, etc.
A learning disability in mathematics can be
identified in the area of mathematics calculation (arithmetic) and/or
mathematics problem solving. A child with a learning disability in math
calculations may often struggle learning the basic skills in early math
instruction where the problem is rooted in memory or cognitive
difficulties. A learning disability in solving math word problems taps
into other types of skills or processes.
Here are some of the tips, which I feel are good enough to deal with challenging students:
Provide a lot of real calculating to ensure understanding takes place before moving into the abstract concepts.
When working on problem solving or word problems, provide opportunities to use real life situations or items to assist with visualization.
Teachers can also use different activities and worksheets to explain math sums to the students sequentially. Practical demonstration might also help a child to learn many skills in a much higher capacity.
Teacher/ counselor behavior should be normal with such children.
Separate curriculum should be designed with fewer burdens for such students in a class.
Provide opportunities to use 'pictures, words or graphs' to help with understanding.
Relate all problems to a real-life situation as much as possible.
Appreciate such students and always motivate them to say yes to every work.
Use different computer games and activities as well, which might create an interest in a child to learn and participate actively.
Some learning disabled students have an excellent
grasp of math concepts, but are inconsistent in calculating. They are
reliably unreliable at paying attention to the operational sign, at
borrowing or carrying appropriately, and at sequencing the steps in
complex operations. These same students also may experience difficulty
mastering basic number facts.
Interestingly, some of the students with these
difficulties may be remedial math students during the elementary years
when computational accuracy is heavily stressed, but can go on to join
honors classes in higher math where their conceptual prowess is called
for. Clearly, these students should not be tracked into low level
secondary math classes where they will only continue to demonstrate
these careless errors and inconsistent computational skills while being
denied access to higher-level math of which they are capable. Because
there is much more to mathematics than right-answer reliable
calculating, it is important to access the broad scope of math abilities
and not judge intelligence or understanding by observing only weak lower
level skills. Often a delicate balance must be struck in working with
learning disabled math students which include:
Math learning difficulties are common, significant, and worthy of serious instructional attention in both regular and special education classes. Students may respond to repeated failure with withdrawal of effort, lowered self-esteem, and avoidance behaviors. In addition, significant math deficits can have serious consequences on the management of everyday life as well as on job prospects and promotion. Therefore, it is the duty of a teacher to deal with such challenge effectively through their skills and knowledge.
This is part three of a three part look at what teaching is all about.
In this third part I will be focusing on formative
and summative assessment and some of the tools available to help you get
to know where each of your students is at any given time. Quoting from
the first article: "What is this formative and summative assessment
about? Giving final tests have been around forever (summative
assessment). Asking questions of the students isn’t new either
(formative assessment). But what have you done with the answers the
students gave? Did they help in guiding where you were going with the
material? Did it help you assess the success of your teaching
Let's first start with questioning strategies. When
a teacher asks a class a question, does it engage everyone? I would say
it engages only those who know the answer or are interested in the
question. What about the rest of the class? What about the shy ones, or
those who don't or aren't sure of the answer? Our job is to engage all
the students, or at least most of them. During most question and answer
sessions you'll find many students checking out. Also, in asking the
question, you ask one student for their answer. This only tells you that
one student understands. What do you know about the rest of the class?
Formative assessment is a very important tool for
the teacher. It should be done frequently (meaning daily) to help you
assess where the students are in their learning and whether you, as a
teacher, needs to make an adjustment in your approach. But it is very
important that formative assessment is done correctly. All students
should be engaged in the assessment. The assessment should be designed
to give you instant feedback as to where each individual is. Realize
right away that this is not for a grade. It's to give you feedback to
where everyone is so that you can respond to it..
One easy way to do this is to use small white
boards. When you ask a question each student writes down their answer on
the board, and when given a cue, they show their boards to you. The
reason for the cue is so the students don't just copy someone else's
answer because that person had gotten it done early. If you don't have
boards, or can't afford them, use blank white paper. This works great in
giving you instant feedback and the students enjoy it because they find
out right away whether they are understanding it and everyone is involved. The drawback to
this method is that you don't have a good record of what each individual
student understands. You could keep a tally with a class list to
highlight students that need extra help as you scan their answers.
You may be thinking: Why go through all this
hassle? Let me ask you this: Are we there for the learning, or just to
present the curriculum? That is what all teachers need to decide.
Another way to assess students in a formative way is by using a Student Response System. There are several systems available. The system I use is available through einstruction. They are located at. Quoting from their website:
"You can engage every child in class material
by creating an interactive learning environment in your classroom.
Students who normally remain silent in class can now answer every
question without fear of embarrassment. And since you see instant
feedback from the entire class, you know whether to move on or continue
teaching a concept. CPS
also streamlines administrative tasks. Now you can spend less time
grading and more time teaching."
This also gives the students immediate feedback on whether they are understanding the lesson and engages every student. It also allows you, due to the instant feedback, to adjust your teaching to help them achieve greater understanding immediately.
Hopefully, I've peaked your interest. What you'll begin to see is better understanding and higher results in your summative tests. You'll also see more students engaged and becoming a part of their learning. I've had students say to me, "I'd take a test any day if I could use these", referring to the response systems. Have I seen an improvement? Yes, because I have a much better idea of where my students are at and can make the immediate adjustments to help those who are struggling.
We use the journal writing style for several applications in class.
The number one goal of mine is to provide students with a place to
record their thoughts and to reflect on their lives. I also advocate
writing activities that can (and should) be done on a daily basis. I
really believe students need to write a lot and often; they become
better writers with a lot of practice. You can't expect students to be
good at writing if they only write a few times each month or marking
period. But I also don't believe students need to formally write essays
each time either. Journaling is one way to break up the monotony of the
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
writing page: http://www.starteaching.com/writing.htm
Be sure to check out our website for the FREE teacher Who-I-Want-To- Be
plan and other great Freebies for new teachers. Simply click the
following link: http://www.starteaching.com/free.htm
Once upon a time
there was a rich merchant who had four wives. He loved the fourth wife the
most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took
great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
In This Week's Issue
Don’t be just a Guest! Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, delivered right to your inbox! FREE tips, ideas, and articles.
love winter, for it is the spring of genius."
THE PLACE FOR ALL TEACHERS!
Do you have a great TEACHING TIP or ACTIVITY to share?
Are you using an innovative TECHNIQUE in your class?
Have you created WRITING PROMPTS that you’d like to add to our WEEKLY CALENDAR?
We welcome, and are always looking for teachers to share successes, stories, and ideas with our readers.
Submit an article to this newsletter by emailing:
Orclick the following link:
All articles will be proofread, and may be edited for content and/or length.
10 days of writing prompts
Are there other teachers in your district who would enjoy this FREE newsletter delivered to them bi-weekly?
YOU could qualify for FREE offers when referring others.
Click the quick link below for more information:
Are you interested in advertising with us?
Preparing for Student Teaching
Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum
Getting Ready for Next Year
Setting Up Your Classroom
(Affiliated with Amazon.com)
Website design by Carrie's Creations Inc. ©2005