Two months ago we posted an article entitled: We MUST Engage Our Kids. Here we listed what we considered the necessary ingredients for a teacher to conduct a successful math class. These were passion, real-world problems, humor, and caring. The other day I was chatting with Vijay, a math tutor working in Romania, and he sent me a short article he had written about how he had started tutoring. I found it fascinating. Two of the ingredients really stood out (though I’m sure he uses all four). Can you guess which two? Here is his article.
It all started about two and a half years ago when I was told to leave Oracle where I was working in Bucharest as an educational consultant. § Read the rest of this entry…
photo by erin MC Hammer
We all have heard kids say, “I’m not really good at math” or “Math isn’t my thing”, especially after receiving a bad test score. Could these comments be subtle signs that they are afraid of math? If so, we need to pull the child aside and ask some questions that might help shed some light on what they are thinking. Are they afraid of failure, or of not understanding, or are they afraid that they are not smart enough?
Then you might offer, “Do you know what helps me when I’m afraid of failing,” or “Do you know what I do if I don’t understand something?” Sharing your own experiences can really help.
For instance, I like to explain that I try to turn scary situations into opportunities. If I have a mountain to climb and start with the premise that the climb will be too hard and I’m not capable of doing it, then I’ve already defeated myself before starting. Working out a math problem is much like working your way up the steep face of a mountain. Sometimes your direction reaches an impasse and you need to backtrack. It’s the same with math problems. The journey can either be fun and tortuous, depending on how you think about it. This reasoning has worked with my daughters, and I’m sure it can work with others too. § Read the rest of this entry…
"Balancing Act" by Taylor Dawn Fortune
The debate continues between two camps—the traditional vs. the reform—as to how children should be taught math. On one side are those who believe skills should be taught based on algorithms, formulas and step-by-step procedures. On the other side are those who think the more inquiry-based approach that emphasizes developing conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills is the key to success. My question is: Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can’t it be a combination of both?
Let me illustrate. My 2nd grade grandson walked to my house to show me how well he is doing in math class. He announced, “I have an ‘A,’ Gigi!”
“Wow!” I said, “Show me what you are learning!” § Read the rest of this entry…