LinkedIn Groups Group: Math, Math Education, Math Culture Discussion: Why do you think people's basic math skills are weak? Art DiVito:@Marsigit. Thanks, Marsigit! Of course, from a pedagogical perspective, one must relate the level at which one teaches to ones philosophy of teaching. I was fortunate to teach college-level courses. I feel it is important to explain why concepts are "important" (i.e., significant) as well as the skills and techniques associated with the concepts. Skills and techniques are more dominate at the lower levels of education; the understanding of significance becomes more extensive at higher levels. In general, movement should be from the specific to the general; from the concrete to the abstract. I had likely mentioned earlier that I opened this site as an educational reform, for K-8, to help motivate students in mathematics: www.mathlabsforschools.com. I would love to hear your comments if you check it out.Frances Winters:Hi Bon, people tell stories to the unborn kids but if they projected the words onto their bellies with a laser in a dark room the kids might actually learn to read.Marsigit Dr MA:@Frances: Yeah yeah yeah I understand. You proved how difficult to illustrate the role of adults in facilitating younger need in learning math. You may imagine that my stories to my kids was a kind projecting the words onto my kids' bellies with a laser in a dark room the kids might actually learn to read; however, the situation was really different. By using indirect approach, there were so much aspect of my kid's initiation and learning emerged. In sum, adult's trust to the younger is very important. The teacher should trust that his/her students will perform their competencies if they get a chance and facilitation.Frances Winters:I was serious. I can imagine communicating with a baby with lazer morse code. If you can teach the blind braille then why not teach morse code in utero? Its not so dark in there really. Music can be heard. You know you can buy a special attachment belly belt for your headphones so baby can use them when you are busy. Right now google are working on special interuterine speakers. Mums will have two sets of phones, one for them and a second set for baby so they can listen in on all the music mum likes and all the family gossip and don't miss out on anything. Babies have been missing out since things with headphones have arrived.Marsigit Dr MA:@Frances: I understand and agree with your illustration. Your illustration is important and unique. I think the key words are VARIETY and RELATIVE. As Jaworsky said there is no the best way to educate. So various activities and resources with their flexible and dynamic scheme, suited to the kids condition and situation surrounding him is the solution. The scheme should, at any stage, empower him with warmly and closely interaction with his parent. I found the small kid (8 moth) has a very high curiosity on everything; and quickly change his focus on different objects dynamically. So a certain role of parent can not be substitute with a toolkit or other facilities. They just support them. What I have just elaborated may be called as HOLOGRAPHIC approach. I am not sure whether there is anybody else who has developed this theory. At least, this will be my future project.Marsigit Dr MA:@Art DiVito: Great! I have searched your works and I think you and your team have done the best in MatLab and SMILE programs. In my point of view, your works have already completely aspects of learning math include: psychology, methodology, and philosophy. I totally agree with the aspect inside your works. I think you and your team are in the highest position of the stage of teachers' professional development, i.e. "teacher pay teacher". However, it is just a very-very small portion of the phenomena of math education. By the way, in this forum, you have successfully performed your accountability. Frankly speaking, I need to learn a lot from you. You just then need to extend and socialize your product, even not only in the usa, but also internationally, in such away that the more teachers are able to use your product. This last point is about sustainability. So you need to sustain your vision and mission. Some problems I found with your programs may come from the feasibility of MathLab, the easy of getting and using the program. It also need to supervise the teachers so that they persistently are to be creative in using your products and not trapped in a mechanically or routine procedures. Further, I can not find the phenomenological ground in your SMILE program. In my perception, phenomenological ground is a higher level in learning math; however, if it is used to develop a certain program to facilitate learning, it will be only in the perception of developer. Inside phenomenology there are two aspects of learning: idealization and abstraction. They are very useful and important aspects of learning math in the case of teachers' perception. Sadly, most teachers are still have limited understanding about this aspects. And for the students, they just follow the scheme made by the programers or by the teachers. They do not need to think much on the theory of phenomenology. It is your scheme I think. ThankMarsigit Dr MA:@Art DiVito: I have some questions to Art. First, how your programs are to facilitate the students to connect among math concepts? Further, how they are to promote the students to construct their own math concept? How about students initiations in learning math? What kinds of class managements do you expect if the teacher use your packet programs? The extent of students shares their ideas with others? One biggest problem in teaching math is that the students learn too formal math, while the students are still in the stage of concrete math. What do you expect to solve this problem?Art DiVito:Part 1. Thanks, Marsigit, for your kind words above. ... As you know, the matter of excellent pedagogy is very complex, so it is difficult to touch upon much of it in a forum such as this. Trying to remain brief, I would suggest that, geometry and trigonometry aside, the calculus and beyond is essentially based on algebra, and algebra is essentially based on arithmetic. Sadly, it is difficult to imagine anything more "drudgery" -- from the student perspective -- than algebra and arithmetic. Nonetheless, arithmetic and algebra are such important tools that they cannot (should not) be reduced from their status in the K-12 curriculum. ... With such contemporary problems as the breakdown of the nuclear family, accelerated peer pressure at earlier ages, less respect for authority in general and the teaching profession in particular, etc., it is now more difficult than ever (it was never easy) to convince students that arithmetic and algebra ought to be learned -- which can be done only with a good deal of "time on task" -- because of their "down the road" value.Art DiVito:Part 2. So, it is more meaningful now than ever to "motivate" the students by convincing them that mathematics is important! Here is one way to do this: (Q) Raise a (fairly) real-world question that can be resolved using elementary mathematics; but for which the correct resolution can be determined by empirical means (i.e., outside of math/theory; i.e., by actual measurement or something that can be observed). Then (R) resolve the question using the appropriate mathematics. Finally, (V) verify the answer obtained using mathematics with the empirical method. That way, the students will see that the mathematics really worked! (I call such an experiment, for K-8, a "MathLab.") Simple example: Attach a helium balloon to a string, and (Q) ask how high the balloon is above the ground. (R) Resolve this using the location of its shadow and then the arithmetic or algebra of either similar triangles or trigonometry. Finally, (V) compare the answer to the actual length of string! ... So, I opened a Discussion Forum here to solicit some such ideas from the field (I myself already had the 14 or so of my website www.MathLabsForSchools.com). Remarkably, I did not draw a single other such "MathLab." Not one! That's when it struck me that such Q/R/V "MathLabs" are not at all trivial, and that's when I launched the website, still hoping to solicit a few more. I feel we need at least about 10 more for it to be an effective K-8 school reform. I will stop here because I dislike long dissertations as much as anyone, and others might have interesting points as well.Mary Cullen:The attitude of non maths professionals and teachers doesn't help. As maths liaison in a learning support meeting, when I stressed the need for extra supports and resources to improve maths performance, I was cut short and informed by the head of the learning support department that she had never been able to do maths and it hadn't done her any harm. This message gets communicated to those struggling to achieve in the subject, leading them to the belief that other areas of study are more important, downgrading the need to put the extra effort and time into the PRACTICE of maths. I have lost count of the number of situations that I have found myself in , where someone in the group discovers my profession and approaches me with their tales of inability in maths, and ability to succeed in life without it. I have given up pointing out that even planning what time to set the alarm clock for the morning requires some maths skills, as changing the mindset of such people is almost impossible. These days I save such information for the maths students in my care and endeavour to instill a love of maths in the students in my care and try to overcome the prejudices that they are hearing in other p arts of their lives against maths. Once that is in process then the motto of practice practice practice takes over. Teachers in maths regularly get bad press for the standards of ability in the subject when we are often battling societal attitude as well as student ability every time we step in the classroom. Cyclically governments jump on the bandwagon with their worries about maths standards, then they throw ridiculous sums of money in enforcing badly thought out syllabus changes, never follow through on providing resources, rig results to show what a wonderful job they have done, then slap each other on the backs to celebrate their achievement, then ignore the realities of the situation again til the next damning report on maths standards is produced. There are wonderful maths teachers out there, who love teir subject passionately and are working wonders in classrooms, often under very difficult circumstances, only to be undermined and deemed failing due to circumstances that are so far outside of their control.Marsigit Dr MA:@Art DiVito: Thank Art for the responses. Many educ practitioners I think need to learn how a certain group are to develop teaching materials and resources. Though we must also look at this from students' perspective. I agree that because of the complexity of aspects of teaching or related programs, to some extent, we can not discus them in the forum like this. I agree that we ultimately finish our discussion, however, arising the problems and delivering the questions are something that naturally happened. If we fail to response them we will have the problems with ACCOUNTABILITY. Again, thank Art.Abdelraheem zabadi:I agree for all above opinionsAbdelraheem zabadi:In addition to that students in general dont want to explore or think , they want everything is ready , more over the rule of technologies and using calculators even in simple calculations ledds to weakened the basic skills among the students.Marsigit Dr MA:@Mary Cullen : I understand and agree with most of your descriptions. However, I still need make a response. I think your illustration is excellent. You illustrated how math teachers have complexity and challenging problems coming from not only pedagogical aspects, but also from the system and even from the, maybe in your perception, irresponsible outsider behavior. Further, I am a little bit concerned with your statement "These days I save such information for the maths students in my care and endeavor to instill a love of maths in the students in my care and try to overcome the prejudices that they are hearing in other p arts of their lives against maths". I am inconvenient with your INSTILLING a love of maths to your students. In my opinion, loving math is something coming from inside the student; we can not force to instill something to others. Love is something very-very subjective and individual. About social attitude, I think, to some extent, we need to be more critical and positive thinking. The outsider or society needs a kind of responsibility from the teachers on how they teach their students. So, as a math teacher, it is compulsory also for me to explain what happened in my classroom. I agree with you that there are wonderful math teachers out there; however they need to talk and explain whenever there are outsider expect them to do so. About our expectation to gov. in providing the resources, yes I think different places have different problems. However, some educ. experts give the solution that resources or any kinds of media and teaching aids is a teacher's creativity. Thank for your great comment.Marsigit Dr MA:@Art, Mary and others: Again, having a long discussion with many math educators here, I will put a concern on the problem of EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. There are many wonderful math teachers, but if they do not want to speak the people/society/parent do not know that they wonderful. Further, WONDERFULNESS is something relative, flexible, life, dynamic, contextual, and to some extent subjective. I conclude that we have a big problem in HOW TO DEVELOP THE SCHEME OF PERFORMING EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. May we need to learn from Japanese teachers. They do LESSON STUDY of math teaching. Lesson Study is a framework of teachers' collaboration in which they are able to share constructively and arising their problem and then striving to improve their quality of teaching. Even, internationally, they sometime invite many educ. practitioners from around the world to come to look at their practice of teaching. Really I want to have a chance also to be invited to USA, Ireland, Australia or UK to look at directly the teaching practice over there. However, I still do not have any information about the case. ThankMarsigit Dr MA:@Abdelraheem: You are right. The very dynamic changes in society influence directly to what happened in the classroom. Consumerism leads to instantly habit of life. Even some governments have not passion in waiting the outcome of education if it is in the long term programs. The very bad situation is that whenever all components of society are to expect instantly the result of education. That's why some government implement centralized curriculum and centralized evaluation in order to control fully its education. The very bad things happened whenever the schools as well as the teachers implement NATIONAL EXAMINATION ORIENTED TEACHING METHOD. They tend just to solve..solve..and solve..math problems. The teachers and also the students have their mind only finding the best methods, or even trick in solution math problems. The students, as Abdelraheem said, do not want to explore or think , they want everything is ready. In this kind of situation, all theories of education does not work. This really happened in some countries. And it is the real challenges for the better math educ. Thank's

## Mar 25, 2013

### Dialog Internasional 3 Pendidikan Matematika

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