Every person has their own special ability. And that depends what their ability is. Some are good at writing, some are good at drawing, and some are good at algebra. For instance, me. I dont have a brain fit for algebra or any other kind of mathematics. But im good at other stuff, so its all good.
What is hard ???
Math is cumulative, and I think too many people realize that too late. They can do problems like 2+x=5 by eye and think they can get by without learning the methodology. of course by the time quadratic equations come along their ability to eyeball problems is insufficient, and they just feel they "don't get math"
at least that's what happened to me...
I also faced troubles when I used to do it. If I'd some intuition about it, then I wouldn't have faced troubles.
Teachers are to blame for skipping sections in math books and avoiding the difficult problems that help students think more deeply.
in my opinion, people find algebra hard because they don't put in the effort and time trying do it. Even if they invest the time, they might be investing it in the wrong place. I had trouble because the lack of motivation to learn the subject. Once I seen how useful math is in other field such as physics, I spend the extra effort to learn it.
And also teachers are guilty of not explaining concepts properly and completely.
Other students are home schooled and get no teaching at all.
don't blame the teachers , you can learn on your own, there is alot of resource on the internet
I don't think that it is exclusively the teacher's fault, though. Many of them are forced to go by a specific curriculum. Also, the students may not be highly motivated to learn algebra.
Easier said than done as far as "learning on your own". If a student is already scared of math, how can they possibly be motivated to learn it when they have a phobia for it?
Imagine being scared of heights, then being forced to bungy jump. That's what happens when students who have math phobia take tests.
don't make up excuse, you have to put in to get out. you can't expect to win a race without practicing. Practicing make perfect.
do your homework, ask question if you don't understand, put your pride down and use logic. ask if you don't understand
The height example is unsuited to the argument because acrophobia is innate, while a fear of mathematics is learned.
I disagree with @MrMoose
@Hero Are you arguing that a fear of math is innate?
Then how are teachers supposed to overcome it?
I see: 1) apparent lack of relevance (in early math it's like, who cares how many apples Susie has? I wanna go home and play Call of Duty) 2) the fear that a student gets when faced with a blackboard full of numbers and letters seemingly thrown together randomly 3) lack of diligence in the educational system (depending on the country) 4)a failure to appreciate the logic *behind* the actual rules of algebra, and firm understanding of those rules (attribute that to teachers or students, either way it leads to the student falling behind, which as I mentioned is bad for appreciating math as a cumulative subject) ...that's some stuff that comes to mind offhand, I'm sure there's more
and I agree that fear of math can be innate without having the proper prior understanding of the basics, as I actually failed algebra because I gave up when I saw a bunch of gibberish on the board in 8th grade. True story.,
It is more likely that a student arrived at the fear of math on their own rather than someone else introducing them to that fear. When someone shows you something and you don't know how to do it, the fear originates in your own mind. And from there, it grows.
@TuringTest 1) I agree, that is why math should be integrated (Pun intended) with physics 2)only a result of falling behind 3)elaborate on "diligence" 4)true
This is not a Math Problem
Actually, it is. It's related to math, and students have a problem with it. Therefore, math problem.
@Hero Maybe we have different definitions of "innate." Mine is: something you are born with (in the biological sense of the word)
instead of wasting time crying about it , go do some math and you will be good at it.
Diligence and falling behind are perhaps related, but I meant to emphasize the various sources of this falling behind. I have known many students to scrape by algebra I, from whence they proceed to fail Algebra II because the teacher gave them a passing grade for some stupid extra credit work
You are not born with fear of heights. Babies are not aware of anything to be scared of heights. Fear of heights is also "learned"
and I think this actually is a math problem, as it perhaps enlightens us as to how to better teach on this site those who feel helpless
In my opinion, 'learning' as taught in the modern school system is basically finding the best way to temporarily memorizing something, applying it on an exam, and then forgetting it all (I'm sure we've all perfected our own ways of 'beating' the system). Algebra is something that builds and builds upon rules. It's unlike learning a language or listing the organs in the human body in that it requires more than simply memorizing words or lists. You actually have to understand it as if it's a living system, a series of reactions and relationships, you can't just 'scrape by'. I feel like that's the reason why people have difficulty.At least, the main one.
Wow...my story perfectly matches up with @TuringTest Does that mean that i can actully be really good at math?
Can we all agree that whatever this fear is, that it is caused by not knowing the previous knowledge required to understand the subject?
@GOODMAN absolutely, I didn't get good at math until I read an algebra book all by myself in 10th grade. I started in chapter 1 and did every single problem. That gave me a good solid basis :)
good mathematician always practice, spend couple hours reviewing and learning everyday, if you don't use it you lose it
I was one of those weird students that just paid attention in school. I didn't have to read an entire algebra book. I would go to class, start listening to the teacher, then start working ahead. The teacher would start explaining and then I would get it within five minutes and start doing problems on my own.
@ GOODMAN - Hey, guess what? I also failed Algebra II. It was the most difficult (or at least, most frustrating) class that I have ever taken. But it was a good experience, because I had to relearn a lot of concepts that I wouldn't have touched otherwise, and taught me how to really /learn/ things. So.
@TuringTest this is why I am grateful that I never took an algebra class (I tested out after reading the textbook.) I never had to deal with the memorization that @wach talked about.
@Hero I was like that in geometry but not algebra for some inexplicable reason. Oddly enough, now I prefer algebra to geometry. Don't know why...
if you think algebra is hard than calculus will be a nightmare.
You're lucky that you were allowed to "test out" of anything @MrMoose. Most schools require you to take it no matter what.
sometimes it's the depends on your professor... I failed algebra on 2nd sem...but when i retook it I get the highest grade a student can get...
@Hero I tested out in 6th grade, so it wasn't exactly a requirement. :P
I was bad at math already, and my math teacher jumped me into Algebra 1 because of my A that i recieved by doing extra credit. Being happy that i was, i rushed home and told my parents. They were proud, and so i went on to Algebra 1 clueless about the concept. I nearly failed. I had a C both semesters. I would cry every time i would get a failed test. Which was nearly every time. I passed on to Geometry my 8th grade year. I reieved a B and C. Still, I would worry, and be sad, i wished i could be good at math. I spent all my time on math, and found myself failing in other subjects due to the lack of interest in them. Finally, I went on to Algebra 2. I was stuck with the worst teacher, and he gave us homework every night about something he didnt even teach. I failed that year. Now im stuck in summer school. I feel like a complete failure. No matter what i try, it will never work out.
this is asking for a opinion and not in regards to estimation or facts therefore it is not a math problem at hero
@mathman12 It is a math related problem.
@GOODMAN for that reason I do not like the way teacher give the opportunity to pass a class with extra credit work. eventually you run into a teacher who only cares about test scores and then you have to face the fact that you didn't actually learn the material, just scraped by with some report on ancient Egyptian mathematics or something
@mathman12 I think this conversation is fruitful enough that I'm not going to pull the plug on it.
@TuringTest Why are you sorry?
I meant my comment at you, not mathman
@Goodman - I felt the same way, because I was in AlgII while all my friends were in Calculus. Don't feel so alone. What worked for me, though, was relating math with something that I actually enjoyed - art. I cinched Geometry because of that, but most times it's /insanely/ boring/nerve-wracking to listen to subjects that you either have no attachment to or are perpetually scared of.
oh no I'm confusing usernames lol
A teacher's duty to me is to make students understand the concept, and I agree with @TuringTest about teachers making students pass with extra credits.
I agree with TuringTest on that - definitely. It's a really lazy way of trying to save face, as a teacher (some school districts 'grade' teachers based on the grades of their students, so a lot of people get 'free rides')
@zepp What about the fact that once you are in a class like, say, algebra 2, the holes in your knowledge will be too great for you to understand the concepts that they teach?
I thought zepp agreed with me that you *do* need to actually learn the stuff, not just pass the class
"I try, where possible, to go a little bit beyond that and to make them see through the equations."
But he's not you run-of-the-mill algebra teacher.
there is resource on the internet , don't rely to be spoon feed by your teachers, If they are not doing a good job, and you want to learn. You can research on it.
He actually isn't even a mathematics teacher at all
"But my goal is to uncover several very basic things that they will remember for the rest of their lives."
Khanacademy is an awesome resource, as well.
@mathman12 wouldn't it be better, though, if you didn't have to?
I know, but that's what a teacher should do, normally.
It would be better but it is only the truth, not all teacher do good job
as a person who struggles in math...i will answer your question. because some guy decided one day to mix the freaking alphabet and numbers.in a more simple format. IT SUCKS.
@zepp But what if it becomes impossible because of the failures of their previous colleagues?
I think it's difficult to make math palatable to people who could care less. Standardized testing. Poor teachers. ....and standardized testing. The focus on CONCEPTS must be the primary focus....not sequence and procedure.
you can't put all the blame on them, student have to put in the effort too.
@MrMoose That's when Internet comes in handy :)
I find the standardized testing a waste of time. I dont see the use in it and the importance given to it.
@GOODMAN I feel the same way, but you still need to elaborate as to exactly why you think it is useless
Standards for education (at least as represented in testing ) are really .. low, anyways, at least in my experience.
@mathman12 we are however trying to see how all teachers can do a better job. I do agree that students do need motivation. If you have motivation you can learn anything.
Well, what is it for anyway? Beside the competition in school. Honestly, I even see some of the teachers cheating on it with us. Its illegal, but nobody says anything. Why is it that its so strict? Why do they need to have competition against each other.
@wach In my school district passing on the algebra end of course was a 33! :P
@MrMoose - I remember one of the questions tested on a standardized test from high school was 'x+3=1'. Unfortunately.
In my opinion the teacher argument and the standardized testing argument is focused FAR more on procedure than it is concept. Concepts will take you much further in understanding mathematics than learning steps A, B, C, D. This is how it was when I was in high school. I was lucky to have good math professors VERY late in HS and early in college to drill concepts home where I was finding myself asking "WHY didn't ANYONE tell me this before??!" Well, when your Algebra II teacher is a football coach... start wondering.
@GOODMAN The given answer is so that education policy makers can better allocate funds, asses which systems (and teachers) are working the best, et cetera.
@qpHalcy0n What happens when he used to be the wrestling coach?
@GOODMAN - Those tests are weighted far heavier than they should. They're actually very important, as they go into determing a school's rating, and how much funding departments will receive from the government. Which is a shame because no one takes them seriously out of the sheer ridiculousness of what's tested. :l
If it is such an important thing, then why arent we studying harder for it? Sure when we were in elementary school, we would start studying for it from the beginning of the school year till the end. But now in highschool, nobody even speaks of it, let alone even study it, until the week of testing. Isnt the highschool testing important than the elementary one?
No, I think if you believe that standardized testing is a way for the government to dole out funds where they should be then you're living in a universe that isn't this one. ...it's how you trim fat.
@wach The problem with standardized testing is the amount of fudging the numbers that goes on. Remember the 33 percent passing rate? That was because the test was supposedly harder (I didn't take it), so that more students would get low grades, so that the district could show a trend of improvement (presumably by a combination of teachers learning how to teach the test, and the test getting easier every consecutive year)
Passing grade is 60% here :D
but still, people fail :/
@qpHalcy0n It does an exceptionally bad job of doing so then. Where I live, there is something called "social promotion." It is essentially, "hey you failed, but we don't want you to bog down our test scores next year, so you can go to the next grade without knowing anything."
Totally agree @MrMoose
Although I don't think teachers should take 100% of the blame, if the student have difficulty in something, he/she is the one who should go seek for help and make effort to understand the concept, etc.
What about the shy kids?
i admit, i was one of them. I didnt ask questions, the thing with me is that i am a kinetic learner. I have to do it myself. I do not understand it when it is done, nor when i ear it done. So it gets difficult for me.
The internet pretty much sends the shyness factor into the garbage. :D
Listen, where I come from is the state where NCLB was born. When I went through school, we took a standardized test in 8th and an exit standardized test in 11th grade. 10 years after my graduation, they spend 1/3 of classroom time cumulative either in prep or actually taking a standardized test. Yet the remediation rate for engineering and applied mathematics is growing rapidly. So we should spend more time taking tests? Or we'll just dump more money on the problem. Maybe that will help. Or just give an excuse to cut some. Whatever, but we're doing all we can, here...take this test while you're waiting.
I never argued that tests were a good thing
They primarily serve the administrators, not the students and teachers
And as I have said before, even their use to administrators is arguable
Is test anxiety a real disease? I am some what like that. And i have proof of it too. My past years, I would take an exam, and worry and worry for it. I would end up failing it. Some say it was because i was worrying too much, but other said i was just plain stupid. But during summer school, our teacher lets us use notes, and I am acing nearly all tests and quzzes. I dont know what to make of this.
Do you take good notes?
I take down what ever my teacher writes on the board and says.
How do you know that you aren't just bad at memorizing formulas and whatever else.
what about it?
Hmm..the funny thing is, when i have my notes with me, I hardly look at them. But i still pass.
what do you look at them for?
I never do. Its the reassurance that I have, that if i get into any hard problem, i have some help. If im doing a test without my notes, I feel like there is no hope. It has been like this forever.
Why do you feel like there is no hope?
I dont know. Its a feeling I get all the time when I have a test that doesnt allow notes.
So then everything about standardized testing being a way to figure out where to dump money is a wash then? I'll say! The teacher who taught AP Calc in HS was a CalTech graduate of Aerospace Engineering, did work for NASA and had only been teaching 6 years at that level. He got paid LESS (It's a matter of public record) than the football coach that taught me the poorest excuse for Algebra II I would never wish to my worst enemy. They don't reward the ones who perform, and DO reward the ones who "just stick around". It doesn't hurt that he's a football guy. (Big deal here). You would dump money into THAT system?
I apologize for the rude comments I made earlier, however; I still think people just simply don't studied enough and use it daily to remember it.
@qpHalcy0n I'm not saying that I would. Again, I contend that standardized testing is of arguable use to even those for whom it is designed.
I agree with you
unless I misunderstand what "wash" means
Here’s my 2 cents: It my opinion, lack of motivation is the cause of most failures (in general). I don’t say this to blame the student for not being motivated, motivation can have many direct and indirect factors. Math courses where I grew up (United States/Texas) were intrinsically designed to make you a calculator. We were just given so many seemingly random calculations to do, without any real application. Sure we were asked questions like ”Sally buys 9 donuts, Bill eats 2 less than sally, and Elizabeth eats 2, how many donuts did Sally eat?” But these are not application questions, because nobody cares how fat Sally is. This is why (I believe) algebra needs to be absorbed into science classes where students can learn the math and application side by side. I nearly failed every math class up to University because I just couldn’t see the real application. But in calculus 1 everything clicked and I could see the purpose hidden behind all the numbers. From then on I’ve been at the top of every math class (A in all of them, minus 1), and am currently half a class away from finishing my math minor. My point with that story is that in calculus you are using algebra as a tool to do something else, not just for the sake of doing algebra (same goes with science courses).
Wash in that it doesn't matter either way. Fund em, and you're funding a system that doesn't function to serve the student's best interest. Don't fund em, and you're choking the schools that don't have a leg to stand on. It simply doesn't matter. I think really from what I've observed in my involvement is that you really can't blame it on the kids. I don't think there's this epidemic of kids who for whatever reason don't understand math and science. I think we have a system that's set up so that really poor teachers just get recycled. You can't hold anybody accountable because if you try to get rid of the pieces that aren't working you'll run into brick walls with unions that have fought tooth and nail to get what they've got (and paid tons to get it). It works for the teachers, but again doesn't serve the best interest of the student.
My view is that much of the problems come from earliest on. When young children are given an opportunity to learn math, the do not do so because they:: A) see no point and B) have poor teachers Because they see no point in math, they are not inclined to learn and fill in the holes that have been left by teachers. The teachers are not entirely to blame, however, as they are more concerned with passing standardized tests than anything else, and may leave holes in places that aren't covered by the test. This misunderstanding of fundamental concepts then leads the students to perform poorly at math later on, eventually staring blankly at the chalkboard and fearing tests. This further disinterests the students from math. Of course, poor teachers are only hastening the by leaving more and more holes in a students knowledge. The only way the student knows how to deal with this is to memorize formulas before a test, and then forget them after the test is finished, learning even less than what the teacher was teaching in the first place. This ultimately leads to students who are bad at math.