Thursday, April 24, 2014

THE MYTH OF ‘I AM BAD AT MATHS’; MULTIPLE TEXT READING INTO WRITING ACTIVITY


It is believed by many experts that maths instruction, which could be so beneficial in countless ways, is basically flawed preventing the development of valuable cognitive skills, creativity and innovativeness. Many have attacked standard teaching methods and blamed them for perpetrating feelings of inferiority concerning maths. Do the three reading tasks in this selection to discover what exactly they claim and write about the issue.
BEFORE YOU READ
·         ·  Math isn't hard, it's a language | Randy Palisoc | TEDxManhattanBeach
How you can be good at math, and other surprising facts about learning | Jo Boaler | TEDxStanford https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3icoSeGqQtY
TEXT ONE: 5-YEAR-OLDS CAN LEARN CALCULUS
By: Luba Vangelova
Published: The Atlantic; March 2014
Level of difficulty: ***
QUESTIONS
1.       Read the description of current maths education in paragraph one. What is the problem with it?
2.       What conclusion can be drawn from the information in paragraph 3? Where else could this sentence have been positioned?
3.       What is it that ‘turns many kids off maths at an early age’?
4.       What conclusion can be drawn from the fact that there are so many’ maths grief stories’?
·         Droujkova’s views are probably correct
·         The disregard for the enjoyable world of maths is wrong
·         The hierarchical sequence of maths instruction is wrong
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other please specify
5.       What is natural maths and why does it work? It is a system of teaching maths which…………………………………………………………………………………………………
6.       Droujkova feels maths education would be greatly improved if people accepted the fact that……………………………………………………………………………………………………
7.  Compare the two sets of examples Droujkova provides. In what way is building a house with Lego blocks superior to doing 100 two digit addition problems? Now look back at the section again and try and name an activity from your life that is simple and hard (like doing 100 two digit addition problems) and another that is easy and complex (like building with lego blocks). What do you gain from each activity? What are the pluses and minuses for learning? Discuss.
8.       Read the description of Moebius Noodles carefully. What is the superiority of this system as compared to the standard system we currently have?
9.       What does the phrase “This is what mathematicians do” refer to? There are two possible answers.
·         They preserve ……………………………………………….and they……………
10.   The example of the rhombus is included in the text to support the idea that……………………….
11.   The advantage of maths circles is that they enable children to witness………………………………..
12.   The established maths curriculum is strongly opposed to ………………………………………….in their learning experience.
13.   Parents and teachers must stop bullying and badgering children and try…………………instead.
14.   Droujkova believes that the two standard criticisms leveled at this new approach to maths education are due to………………………………………………………………………………………………………
15.   Droujkova states that current a standard math education is all about adults prescribing…………………………………………………………………………………
16.   How can the know-how necessary for the new approach to maths teaching be made readily available? Through………………..,………………………………plus……………………………………….
TEXT TWO: THE STEREOTYPES THAT DISTORT HOW AMERICANS TEACH AND LEARN MATHS
By: Joe Boaler
Published: The Atlantic, November 2013
Level of difficulty: ***
QUESTIONS
1.       What two conclusions can we draw from paragraph one?
2.       Having read the first two paragraphs, you know what kind of an article this is in style. It is:…
3.       Broader maths is more popular and more conducive to success because……………………………
4.       The widespread procedure execution in maths has resulted in……………………………………………
5.       Because the approach described by the writer brings the possibility of maths education to everyone, it could be described as …………………………………………………………………………………….
6.       We owe the emergence of the maths underclass to the view that…………………………which is aggravated by………………………………….Couple this with ……………………………….and you have a problem.
7.       How can reaction to the course the writer taught at Stanford be described?
8.       What examples of problems in maths teaching does the writer emphasize?
9.       Study the two published test questions. The writer emphasizes the superiority of ………………… because solving this requires …………………………..and……………………………………………..
10.   Why don’t employers need people who can calculate fast? Use your own words.
11.   The change in the approach to maths education will bring greater success at work too thanks to the new focus on …………………………………… and…………………………………………………………….
12.   Teachers and parents should be encouraging students to………………………..and not be focusing on…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
13.   The writer feels ……………………….and………………………..should be removed from the curricula. He also feels ………………………………………………..can’t help achieve modern goals.
TEXT THREE: THE MYTH OF ‘I AM BAD AT MATH’
By: Miles Kimball and Noah Smith
Published: The Atlantic; October 28 2013
Level of difficulty: ***
QUESTIONS
1.       The belief in math people has both immediate consequences by…………………………………and also far reaching consequences as it helps support and feed the misconception of…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2.       Which of the following best expresses the main idea of paragraph two?
·         Maths ability is innate as proved by the case of Terence Tao
·         Talent is not necessary for high school maths
·         Although math ability is partly innate, this is not as important as personal effort and character.
·         All of the above
·         None of the above
·         Other: please specify
3.       Which of the subtitles below would you assign to paragraph 3?
·         Prepare and become a math person
·         To be math people, believe in yourselves
·         Forget talent, think self-fulfilling prophecy
·         Parents, we need your help
4.       Read from “The idea that math ability…” to the end of the paragraph beginning “The result”. Now select a subtitle for this section from the list below:
·         The nature / nurture controversy
·         The fatalistic versus the non-fatalistic approach
·         Intelligence and how to get it
·         Dweck and his research
5.       Read Lisa Carol Dweck and her colleagues’ experiment carefully to the end. The psychologists set out to test the effects of a fatalistic / non-fatalistic / both a fatalistic and anon-fatalistic approach to education. They discovered a(n) optimistic / pessimistic view produced success through hard work, whereas a(n) optimistic / pessimistic view had the reverse effect.
6.       According to the text there is (a) negative / positive/ no correlation between hard work and increases in intelligence.
7.       Which sentence in the paragraph beginning “So why…” best expresses the main idea?
8.       What conclusion can be drawn from the comparison of US children to those in Germany, UK and Sweden?
9.       Which sentence in the paragraph beginning “We believe” best expresses the danger of giving up on maths?
10.   What is the writer referring to when he says “We believe this has to stop”?
·         Americans must stop going through life terrified of equations and mathematical symbols
·         They recoil from anything that looks like maths and so they exclude themselves from quite a few lucrative career opportunities.
·         The whole paragraph
11.   Read the remainder of the text and decide which of the qualities below are associated with East Asians and which with Americans.
·         Studiousness
·         Short holidays
·         Despondency
·         Perseverance
·         Determination
·         Resentment in face of criticism
12.   Which two qualities does the writer feel should be valued more highly in math education?
13.   Which major concern underlies the problems related to maths education described in the text?
WRITING TASK
Use all three texts and your own experience to describe how mind sets could be changed and more people could learn to benefit from and enjoy maths. Remember there is a lot of opposition to all this so justify your solutions. What kind of essay will you end up writing? You will end up writing a problem solution / argumentative essay but that is just fine so no worries.
THE MYTH OF ‘I AM BAD AT MATHS’; MULTIPLE TEXT READING INTO WRITING ACTIVITY KEY AND TEACHER’S NOTES
This wonderful threesome slot into place beautifully to highlight the negative short and long term impact of current practices involved in teaching maths. It is an issue close to everyone’s heart. The texts lay bare all the mistakes that are made with forceful arguments and suggests revolutionary approaches to teaching maths. From my point of view, the texts provide another bonus too: they gave me the opportunity to ask a variety of careful reading questions; a wider selection than I usually have the opportunity to write. The writing task is challenging and should not be timed.
TEXT ONE: 5-YEAR-OLDS CAN LEARN CALCULUS, KEY
  1. It has nothing to do with how people think, how children grow and learn or how mathematics is built.
  2. Calculations kids are forced to do are often so developmentally inappropriate the experience amounts to torture; at the beginning of paragraph 3.
  3. Little manipulations of numbers
  4. All of the above
  5. Hinges on harnessing students’ powerful and surprisingly productive instincts for playful exploration to guide them on a personal journey through the subject / Games and free play are efficient ways for children to learn.
  6. The complexity of the idea and the difficulty of doing it are separate, independent dimensions.
  7. Building a house with Lego blocks creates a rich and social mathematical experience that is complex yet easy. The parenthesis may be included.
  8. This approach gives you deep roots so the canopy of the high abstraction does not wither whereas the current system helps with test taking and mundane exercises but does nothing for logical thinking and problem solving.
  9. A playful aspect along the entire journey; play with abstract ideas but still play
  10. People are different and people need to approach mathematics differently
  11. Meaningful people doing meaningful things with maths and enjoying the experience
  12. Giving children a voice
  13. Inspiring them
  14. (rather)Deep chasms between different philosophies of education (or more broadly differences in the futures we pave for kids)
  15. What mathematics education they select or make for the kids
  16. Online hubs, online courses, support
TEXT TWO:THE STEREOTYPES THAT DISTORT HOW AMERICANS TEACH AND LEARN MATHS, KEY
  1. Mathematics education in the US is broken; we need to change the way we teach math
  2. Argumentative
  3. Mathematical problems that need thought, connection making and even creativity are more engaging to the students of all levels…
  4. Fewer students contributing and lower achievement
  5. Mathematical democratization
  6. Math is hard, uninteresting and accessible only to nerds; harsh stereotypical thinking; teaching practices
  7. Transformative
  8. The maths that people need in the 21st century and the math they spend most of their time on in class: computing by hand
  9. Second, justification and reasoning
  10. There are machines to do that
  11. Justification / reasoning
  12. To deeply understand things and their relations to each other; speed
  13. Redundant content; obsole content; stereotypical thinking and teaching
TEXT THREE: THE MYTH OF ‘I AM BAD AT MATH’, KEY
  1. By hamstringing your own career; inborn genetic ability
  2. The third
  3. The third
  4. The first is too general, the last is too narrow, the third is way off. The answer is two
  5. Both fatalistic and non-fatalistic, optimistic, pessimistic
  6. Positive
  7. Math is the great mental bogeyman of an unconfident America
  8. Americans’ native ability is just as good as anyone’s but we fail to capitalize on this ability through hard work.
  9. While we don’t think education isn’t a cure all for inequality, we definitely believe that in an increasingly automated workplace, Americans who give up on math are selling themselves short.
  10. The first. He doesn’t say ‘all this has to stop’
  11. Despondency and resenting criticism: US; the rest East Asia
  12. Persistence and grit
  13. Moving away from a culture of hard work…






5 comments:

  1. That was interesting to see. I thought of how to make this into a more open-ended assignment, in the spirit of the articles it discusses. For example...

    From:
    7. Compare the two sets of examples Droujkova provides. In what way is building a house with Lego blocks superior to doing 100 two digit addition problems?

    To:
    7. Name an activity from your life that is simple and hard (like doing 100 two digit addition problems) and another that is easy and complex (like building with LEGO blocks). What do you gain from either type of activities? What are their pluses and minuses for learning?

    In general, it would be interesting to see ideas, examples, conjectures, and syntheses from people who use prompts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very good suggestion; thanks. I shall most certainly have questions of this kind more frequently in future posts. The purpose is to push students to think beyond the text and bring their own experiences into the whole process as well. Thanks very much

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    2. I have added your question as a discussion question that the students can refer to while wri,ting their essay.Thanks

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    3. Thank you! If they want to post their answers here, or anything else related, I will respond. I like to ask questions to which I don't know answers. If anything, it makes evaluation very engaging and full of surprises!

      Delete
  2. Your content shows the power, I’m about to add this to my bookmarks. essay online

    ReplyDelete