PROBLEM SOLVING IS NOT JUST FOR BOYS! LET'S MOVE TOWARD A MORE BALANCED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR OUR CHILDREN

Did you know research studies have revealed that teachers, as well as parents, strongly influence girls' perceptions about their math and computation abilities? Often times, subtle, but damaging acts of preferential treatment go unnoticed in the classroom and at home. Studies have also revealed that women are clearly underrepresented in mathematics, science, and engineering careers in the United States. Disproportionate male participation in these fields also exists at the undergraduate level. Gender and ethnic gaps are found in self-perceptions of ability in and attitudes towards math and science and on "high stakes" tests such as the SAT and Advanced Placement tests. Researchers have found that children's perceptions of math and science predict the pursuit of careers.

Here are some things that both parents and teachers may do to influence girls' self-perceptions about their math abilities:

1. Encourage the boys to play mechanical, analytical, and/or hands-on toys, games, and activities that require intense problem solving (e.g., parents will often teach their sons how to configure puzzles and play chess and not their daughters)

2. Teachers will often call on boys more than they do girls to solve a difficult math problem, and they will wait for a longer period of time until boys solve and complete math problems.

3. Fathers will teach their young sons game plan strategies, help them play, build, and configure things, and challenge them to think in new and different ways, which ultimately prepares them for succeeding in math later on.

4. In class, teachers will often acknowledge and praise boys for correctly answering a math problem. Teachers will also give boys more instructional feedback and more opportunities to help others solve math problems in class. Thus, parents should become concerned when they see more boys acting as peer tutors in class than they see girls. A parent may even want to ask their child's teacher why aren't more girls given opportunties to be math tutors in his or her class.

5. Mothers and caretakers will often let male toddlers play with geometric shapes, blocks, legos, computer software games, and manipulatives. The female toddlers, on the other hand, are handed a bunch of dolls, plastic kitchen utensils, and beauty acessories to play with.

Factors that contribute to gender differences in self-perceptions include parents' lower mathematical expectations for their daughters; math anxiety, and differences in children's own belief systems, e.g., confidence, attributional style, usefulness of the subject. These findings have led to the development and assessment of intervention strategies to address gender, ethnic, and socio-economic gaps. Elements of effective strategies include: Developing mathematical concepts and skills using "girl-friendly" examples; role modeling by women in math and science fields; targeting youth at critical times during their development; utilizing small-group learning; and providing adult mentoring.

What Parents and Teachers Can Do

Stop gender-biased learning. Don't convince your children that some games and activities are for girls and others are for boys. Encourage your daughters as well as your sons to problem solve, think critically, strategize, use creative thinking, and to be self-sufficient and independent learners.

Reference (for full article and complete list of references):

Gilbert, M.C., Reid, P.T., & Marzolf, K. (2004). Improving adolescent girls' math self-perceptions, Academic Exchange Quarterly Publication.

Note: Parts of this thread was extracted from the article written above (see reference).
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
SOLVING PROBLEMS IS NOT JUST FOR BOYS!

Did you know research studies have revealed that teachers, as well as parents, strongly influence girls' perceptions about their math and computation abilities? Often times, subtle, but damaging acts of preferential treatment go unnoticed in the classroom and at home. Studies have also revealed that women are clearly underrepresented in mathematics, science, and engineering careers in the United States. Disproportionate male participation in these fields also exists at the undergraduate level.



Good article!

An interesting fact though is that at the graduate level (in mathematics) black female participation is on par with black males. The rates are about the same. Though overall both are very under-represented.

This is an amazing fact since among other ethnic groups males seem to predominate.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
SOLVING PROBLEMS IS NOT JUST FOR BOYS!

Did you know research studies have revealed that teachers, as well as parents, strongly influence girls' perceptions about their math and computation abilities? Often times, subtle, but damaging acts of preferential treatment go unnoticed in the classroom and at home. Studies have also revealed that women are clearly underrepresented in mathematics, science, and engineering careers in the United States. Disproportionate male participation in these fields also exists at the undergraduate level.



Good article!

An interesting fact though is that at the graduate level (in mathematics) black female participation is on par with black males. The rates are about the same. Though overall both are very under-represented.

This is an amazing fact since among other ethnic groups males seem to predominate.


Interesting commentary Brother Honest. I didn't know that girls' interest and abilities in mathematics increased and then leveled with boys at the graduate level. But acutally, I remember long ago, I attended a teacher's conference about this topic, and the lecturer told us about the details of intriguing study. I don't remember all of the details. However, I do remember the outcome.

Essentially, what happened is two groups of college students, majoring in Mathematics and equal in math abilities (all were honor roll students), were given a difficult math test. On one side of the room, sat the female participants and male participants sat on the other. But before administering the test, the female participants were told "this math test has been very difficult for women to pass." The men listened to what the women were being told, and then both groups took the test. Can you guess what happened? If you guessed that the women did very poorly on the math test, and the men, feeling very proud and motivated by their "gender-specific superior math abilities" did very well on the math test, then you're right.

What's interesting is that the researchers tested another group of college students on the campus in the same way and used the same test. But this time, the female participants were told that "women typically do well on this test, so you should do very well." Not sursprisingly, the female participants significantly outscored the men.

Do you see the power of expectations at work here? The mind has the incredible ability to pick up on subtle messages, and it acts accordingly. Thus, each of us has the power to either negatively or positively influence learning. That is why it is so important for us to stop gender-biased learning. As a teacher, I had to stop doing certain things that I didn't even notice I was doing (e.g., calling on boys more to do math problems, encouraging the boys to play certain sporting games and puzzles, and not wanting the girls to get on the floor and get their clothes "dirty", etc.) You have to stop that. You have to let the girls play with manipulatives, shapes, puzzles, sporting games, use mind strategies, problem solve, do creative thinking, etc.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
An interesting fact though is that at the graduate level (in mathematics) black female participation is on par with black males. The rates are about the same. Though overall both are very under-represented.

This is an amazing fact since among other ethnic groups males seem to predominate.


Interesting commentary Brother Honest. I didn't know that girls' interest and abilities in mathematics increased and leveled out at the graduate level.


My comment was not directed at ability but rather at the level of representation. In other words, even in a field as male dominated as mathematics tends to be that black males are SO under-represented, that the numbers of black males is about the same as the number of black females. Which is small either way.

There are about enough of us now to have an annual conference. It is the only conference I go to where the numbers of males and females seem to be about the same. This is true by the way only with regard to graduate students and new Ph.D.'s ... Among tenured faculty, the numbers again begin to favor men. I wonder what that says?

The situation also seems to change when one looks at Africans rather than African Americans. Then males again pre-dominate in American institutions.

This is anecdotal by the way. But it's based on years of observation. And the community is quite small anyway. So it probably wouldn't be difficult to substantiate.

But back to your actual article, I've found as a teacher that female ability and interest is on par with males - maybe even better - until you get to upper level (junior, senior, graduate) courses. Then the numbers drop off dramatically for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. Although it definitely reflects the fact that males predominate among math majors - precisely the people who will take the upper level courses.

But in my calculus classes, semester after semester, females typically out perform males.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
My comment was not directed at ability but rather at the level of representation. In other words, even in a field as male dominated as mathematics tends to be that black males are SO under-represented, that the numbers of black males is about the same as the number of black females. Which is small either way.


Got it. I understand what you're saying now.

quote:
It is the only conference I go to where the numbers of males and females seem to be about the same. This is true by the way only with regard to graduate students and new Ph.D.'s ... Among tenured faculty, the numbers again begin to favor men. I wonder what that says?


This is probably worth investigating...

quote:
The situation also seems to change when one looks at Africans rather than African Americans. Then males again pre-dominate in American institutions.


Now again, I think this is the result of the gender socialization and gender-biased learning that takes place in many communities. Isn't it true that even in an increasingly literate world, girls are still being discouraged from attending school in some indigeneous communities? I mean, for heavens sake, in some communities, it's against tradition and custom for girls to step foot inside a classroom!, never mind learn "hard" subjects like Mathematics and Science versus "soft" subjects like domestic arts, sewing, cooking, and reading.

quote:
This is anecdotal by the way. But it's based on years of observation. And the community is quite small anyway. So it probably wouldn't be difficult to substantiate.


That's OK brother, empirical research is worth considering too. Besides, you are an authority on the subject; you are a Mathematics professor and an educator as well. And colleagues should share and learn from one another's experiences.
tfro

quote:
But back to your actual article, I've found as a teacher that female ability and interest is on par with males - maybe even better - until you get to upper level (junior, senior, graduate) courses. Then the numbers drop off dramatically for reasons I'm not entirely sure of. Although it definitely reflects the fact that males predominate among math majors - precisely the people who will take the upper level courses.But in my calculus classes, semester after semester, females typically out perform males


When you're teaching small children, you're required to have at least a general understanding of how children and their minds develop. And so, I've researched the differences between the way girls and boys learn. According to Jane M. Healy, a major authority on child development and the author of Your Child's Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning From Birth to Adolescence (2004), when it comes to grasping mathematical concepts, boys have an advantage.

Whereas girls tend to excel and develop early language, vocabulary, speech, writing, and reading ability, boys develop motor (perhaps this explains why boys have to move around a lot more than girls) and analytical/abstract thinking ability sooner than girls. And these abilities tend to emerge or "sharpen" right around puberty (ages 12-13), the age where you say mathematical ability seems to decrease in girls and significantly increase in boys. During this age, Healy says, is when you'll notice that boys will surpass girls in Math.

But I recommend anyone who is interested in this topic or who has children to read the chapter about math abilities for a better and more thorough explanation. Healy talks a lot about how the brain changes at each stage of children's development. Anyway, to summarize her research on this topic, she mentioned something about all the changes that occur during puberty and its affect on girls' mathematical reasoning. So, perhaps these changes are respoonsible for the decrease in girls' school performance in math. However, both Healy and I agree that this does not mean that boys are "smarter" than girls during this time; it just means that girls and boys develop differently and that this is the time when teachers and parents really need to pull together as a team to encourage girls to apply themselves in areas where they may struggle.

In order for kids to excel in and out of school, they need a DIVERSE range of challenges and activities to do.

Reference

Your Child's Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning From Birth to Adolescence by Jane M. Healy
Good info Sista Rowe!

Actually, I was encouraged to tinker, but I am still mathphobic and actually changed my major several times back in the day due to my fear of it.

Now I have a friend or two, including a computer geek whose eyes get all misty at the thought of math...and the way they describe it when they talk makes math seem, romantic...

well maybe not romantic

but they say words like "relationship" and "balance" when they speak of the M-word

perhaps if I could feel the way they feel about the m-word

i could love it too.
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:

well maybe not romantic

but they say words like "relationship" and "balance" when they speak of the M-word

perhaps if I could feel the way they feel about the m-word

i could love it too.



It is ALL about relationship. Mathematics is both a particular way of looking at the world AND a language in which to describe particular relationships within it.

It is not about feeling. It IS about seeing.

And once you see, you cease to fear.
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
Good info Sista Rowe!

Actually, I was encouraged to tinker, but I am still mathphobic and actually changed my major several times back in the day due to my fear of it.

Now I have a friend or two, including a computer geek whose eyes get all misty at the thought of math...and the way they describe it when they talk makes math seem, romantic...

well maybe not romantic

but they say words like "relationship" and "balance" when they speak of the M-word

perhaps if I could feel the way they feel about the m-word

i could love it too.


I'm actually a little disappointed that I was not encouraged more often than I should have been to perform better in Math. I was always a good reader, and later on, I became a good writer. But as long as I can remember, Math was never one of my strengths. A friend, who is an engineer for Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., has convinced me that EVERYONE is good at Math and that Math is simply a language. He's convinced that like all subjects, succeeding in Math starts with having a good Math teacher. I tend to agree with him, because I remember as a business major, I had to take a college math course, which I thought was going to be really difficult for me. But to my surprise, I did very well in this course and earned an "A" because the person who taught the course was such an exceptional Math teacher.

I loved this White guy's class so much that people got tired of me raising my hand all the time and giving all the correct answers. I'll never forget how proud I was of myself once the class was over, because before taking this Math class, I thought I could never succeed in Math.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
It is ALL about relationship. Mathematics is both a particular way of looking at the world AND a language in which to describe particular relationships within it.It is not about feeling. It IS about seeing. And once you see, you cease to fear.


I like that analogy Brother Honest! This sounds almost like poetry. Math poetry! That's it. I should put this up in my classroom. You're good.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:

5. Mothers and caretakers will often let male toddlers play with geometric shapes, blocks, legos, computer software games, and manipulatives. The female toddlers, on the other hand, are handed a bunch of dolls, plastic kitchen utensils, and beauty acessories to play with.




A lot of times, we read something....and ponder.

Im 10 years older than my siblings. I disliked math, and struggled.

My siblings (boy/girl) did not. I think since they were so close in age.......my parents treated both the same (in regards to games, blocks, etc)

The result was astounding.........they both excel so much.......both are now in high school, taking college math/science courses.

I hope parents take the time to read this, and apply some of these ideas. It works!!


Rowe, thanks........great article!!
quote:
Originally posted by qty226:
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:

5. Mothers and caretakers will often let male toddlers play with geometric shapes, blocks, legos, computer software games, and manipulatives. The female toddlers, on the other hand, are handed a bunch of dolls, plastic kitchen utensils, and beauty acessories to play with.




A lot of times, we read something....and ponder.

Im 10 years older than my siblings. I disliked math, and struggled.

My siblings (boy/girl) did not. I think since they were so close in age.......my parents treated both the same (in regards to games, blocks, etc)

The result was astounding.........they both excel so much.......both are now in high school, taking college math/science courses.

I hope parents take the time to read this, and apply some of these ideas. It works!!


Rowe, thanks........great article!!


You're welcome, and by the way, that's some impressive parenting! Apparently, your parents were well ahead of the game. Rather giving their children dolls and toy figures to play with, your parents were helping their children to identify and feel the different shapes, sizes, and textures of a variety of objects, organize and set up toy blocks for building interesting creations, piece together puzzles and legos, engage in imaginative play, etc., which was preparing their children for solving complex math problems later on. Good for them!

To help children develop problem solving skills that they will use and need later on, parents must engage their children in activities that will challenge their minds. Parents must avoid sitting their kids in front of a television set with popular dolls and action figures. In the long run, these things are not going to help children later on when they're staring down at a SAT test.
I was homeschooled as a child and my elders fed me logic puzzles and games.... I still have an insatiable appetite for them :-)


Women, Art and Geometry in Southern Africa

by Paulus Gerdes

published by Africa World Press, Trenton NJ, USA
(11-D Princess Road, Lawrenceville N.J. 08648,

tel. 609-844-9583

fax: 609-844-0198

e-mail:awprsp@africanworld.com)


The book was originally published in 1995 by the Universidade Pedago'gica in Mozambique and received the Special Commendation in the 1996 NOMA Award for Publishing in Africa Competition. The book was praised by the jury as "combining in an ingenious way the study of geometry with that of the visual arts, presenting an important challenge and stimulant to the future of mathematics education in Africa. It demystifies mathematics in relation to gender and race, and erases the borders between mathematics and popular culture as experienced in the work and crafts of women in southern Africa.

The book's importance lies in its prospective impact on the education of African women in mathematics."

PRESENTATION AND CONTENTS:

African peoples in general, and those in Southern Africa in the post-apartheid era in particular, are facing the urgent need to awaken and nurture their magnificent creative potential for the benefit of all. Women, constituting half of the population, are still strongly underrepresented in scientific and technological carreers where mathematical ideas play an important role.

Outside the school context, Southern African women have been involved in cultural activities - such as ceramics, beading, mural decoration, mat and basket weaving, hair braiding, tattooiing, string figures - which bear a strong artistic and mathematical character. Mathematics is the science of patterns. Southern African women have created and continue to create, invent, and imaginate beautiful patterns. Some of these patterns from mat and basket weaving,ceramics, tattooiing, string figures, beading, and mural decoration, are presented in the book.

The main objective of the book is to call attention to some mathematical aspects and ideas incorporated in the patterns invented by women in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe). It is the author's wish to contribute to the valuing, revival and development of these traditions and their incorporation into (school) education. As an example of the educationaluse of female decorations, the book presents the reinvention of the Theorem of Pythagoras.

CONTENTS

0. Preface 6. 'Mafielo' - grass brooms
1. 'Sipatsi' - decorated handbags 7. 'Nembo' - tattooiing and body painting
2. 'Titja' - coiled baskets 8. 'Ovilame' - bead ornaments
3. Mat weaving 9. 'Litema' - mural decoration
4. 'Buhlolo' - string figures 10. 'Ikghuptu' - mural decoration
5. 'Oku-taleka' - decorated pottery 11. Pythagoras a women? - Example of an educational-mathematical examination
Epilogue
Appendix 1: Decorative patterns among Yao potters (by Salimo Saide) Appendix 2: Classification of strip patterns
Bibliography


The French language edition of the book was published in 1996 by

L'Harmattan under the title:

FEMMES ET GE'OME'TRIE EN AFRIQUE AUSTRALE.



L'Harmattan:

5-7 rue de l'Ecole-Polytechnique, 75005 Paris, France

Tel.: (1) 43 54 79 10; Fax: (1) 43 25 82 03;

55, Saint-Jacques, Montreal- Quebec H2Y 1K9, Canada

Tel.: 514 286 90 48; Fax: 514 286 82 67





These web pages are brought to you by

The Mathematics Department of
The State University of New York at Buffalo.

created and maintained by
Dr. Scott W. Williams
Professor of Mathematics
fro I know bias was happenin when I was comin' up. And I think it was done PURPOSELY. And I always wondered how can one be BRILLIANT and not be able to count. But there were many honor-roll students like that...including me duckin' and hidin'. And it ALL happened in elementary and junior high school respectively. I ran from math so much that it AFFECTED my other solid courses [sciences, etc] that used the metro system [in my day we were just learning it not mandatory at the time] or just plain calculation like the circumference of the earth...or the latitude and longitude degrees of the spheres and so forth. I used to go 17 And bribe my fellow male classmates or paid tutors to help me. It wasn't pretty. Many were complex cuz I was GREAT in everything else and used to charge for thesis and research papers but couldn't to SAVE my LIFE understand the order of operations in geometry, trig, calculus [sp] and other high school and college mathematics. I was pathetic to say the least. I guess this is WHY I have/had such a BIG mouth in all other subjects....cuz they require just standard reading, comprehension and studying [easy]..... I'm glad to see the tables are finally turning for girls in the field. 'bout time! Good post. tfro
quote:
Originally posted by Khalliqa:
I was homeschooled as a child and my elders fed me logic puzzles and games.... I still have an insatiable appetite for them :-)


Women, Art and Geometry in Southern Africa

by Paulus Gerdes


Thanks Sis. Khalliqa for your contribution to the thread. Smile
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
fro I know bias was happenin when I was comin' up. And I think it was done PURPOSELY. And I always wondered how can one be BRILLIANT and not be able to count. But there were many honor-roll students like that...including me duckin' and hidin'. And it ALL happened in elementary and junior high school respectively. I ran from math so much that it AFFECTED my other solid courses [sciences, etc] that used the metro system [in my day we were just learning it not mandatory at the time] or just plain calculation like the circumference of the earth...or the latitude and longitude degrees of the spheres and so forth. I used to go 17 And bribe my fellow male classmates or paid tutors to help me. It wasn't pretty. Many were complex cuz I was GREAT in everything else and used to charge for thesis and research papers but couldn't to SAVE my LIFE understand the order of operations in geometry, trig, calculus [sp] and other high school and college mathematics. I was pathetic to say the least. I guess this is WHY I have/had such a BIG mouth in all other subjects....cuz they require just standard reading, comprehension and studying [easy]..... I'm glad to see the tables are finally turning for girls in the field. 'bout time! Good post. tfro


Thanks for sharing your experience Sis. Koco. We share similar experiences, except I didn't hide my fear of Math. I think what needs to happen is exactly what's being suggested in the article. We need more balanced learning environments and children need a wide variety of academically stimulating activities and challenges. What's more, more American students would excel in Math if they were not bombarded with so much content in one academic year. In other countries, in India, for example, where childen do exceptionally well in Math, the school system doesn't bombard its students with content and an never-ending list of themes. More focus and concentration is placed on teaching students how to THINK abstractly, to estimate, to use strategies, and to problem solve, because this is what standardized tests are really testing. Standardized tests (e.g., SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.) are assessing the test-taker's ability to think. They are not testing to determine whether or not the test-taker can multiply 2 X 2. They are testing your ability to think abstractly and to use logic. Thus, once studets learn how to think, then they can solve any math problem.

Sis Koco, you're an educator, what changes do you think need to made in American school systems in terms of how children are being taught?
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
What's more, more American students would excel in Math if students were not bombarded with so much content in one year. In other countries, where students excel in Math, in India, for example, less focus is placed on bombarding students with content and themes, and more focus placed on teaching students how to think abstractly, to estimate, and to problem solve. Once studets learn how to do these, they can solve any problem. In other words, rather than teaching children how to memorize concepts, we need to teach them how to think.



HALLELUJAH! Preach it!

I'm teaching a section of College Algebra this semester. These kids (mostly freshmen) have had 12 years of formal schooling and have very very little conceptual understanding of basic mathematics.

For them it's all blind manipulations and applying "rules" that they don't really understand.

And what's REALLY sad is that they've been taught that way for SOOO long that they expect to continue to be taught that way and so are very resistant to my efforts to instill any conceptual understanding.
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
HALLELUJAH! Preach it!

I'm teaching a section of College Algebra this semester. These kids (mostly freshmen) have had 12 years of formal schooling and have very very little conceptual understanding of basic mathematics.

For them it's all blind manipulations and applying "rules" that they don't really understand.

And what's REALLY sad is that they've been taught that way for SOOO long that they expect to continue to be taught that way and so are very resistant to my efforts to instill any conceptual understanding.



I hear you and sympathize with your complaint Brother Honest, because that's how I was taught. Your college students were probably taught using the same methods that most Math teachers use. First, you learn an never-ending list of rules, then you apply the rule to a given math problem (if you could remember it). We weren't taught how to think or to mentally talk ourselves through it by saying things like, "Ok, that doesn't make sense, so it can't be that answer, and this doesn't make sense, so it must be, etc."

It wasn't until later on that I discovered that most Math problems don't even require a lot of needless computation. If you can think abstractly and apply logic, the answer presents itself.
This is why I miss homeschooling... it is a freer environment to explore... the majority of homeschoolers adhere to some form of unschooling wherein the child explores subjects on their own.... This approximates what I experienced in my family.... I was allowed to explore geometry and logic at a young age.... to a degree of obsession almost... (erm those days are gone... not near as sharp as I used to be sck though I still love logic puzzles... ) This kind of talk is generating my zeal for homeschooling again....
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:

For them it's all blind manipulations and applying "rules" that they don't really understand.




This has been my attitude toward it... manipulate this, follow that rule, blah blah blah

math seems both rigid and boring at the same time

but i like science very much.

I disliked high school math intensely. I struggled very hard to get B's.

However when I got to college and took 2 semesters of behavioral stats, I loved it! i got A's

finally a math that felt easy! and fun! and meaningful! bow
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
math seems both rigid and boring at the same time


Oh no muh dear! Smile

Not "rigid" but precise. And once you master its precision then you discover its power and it ceases to be boring.

quote:

I disliked high school math intensely. I struggled very hard to get B's.


hug

quote:

However when I got to college and took 2 semesters of behavioral stats, I loved it! i got A's

finally a math that felt easy! and fun! and meaningful! bow


tfro

Believe it or not, there are, even among mathematicians, different types of mathematical intelligence.

I was always bored to tears by stats. lol
My mom seems to have done things right. If the list in the article is what typical parents do, my mom was especially unusual.

Perhaps that's why I kicked ass at math when I was younger.

I hate math now, though. I find it dull. And, regardless of what I score on assessments, I feel incapable. Phobic, if you will.

I wonder what would have happened if my math schooling were different.

The gender preferential treatment in the classroom was certainly not subtle.

That was true for science, and I haven't lost a love for that, but science teachers didn't practically punish students for working problems in their heads and didn't enforce a one style fits all manner of learning that killed the subject.
Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Sis Koco, you're an educator, what changes do you think need to made in American school systems in terms of how children are being taught?


fro If I had MY WAY keeping it very SIMPLE....I would revert the system back to the basic 3R's: Reading, 'Riting and 'Rthmetic. Why? These are life skills necessary to survive in this world. We or I should they have moved away from IT. And is why most adolescents I come in contact with cannot read, write or do 'rthmetic above 5th grade level or even less. Secondly, I would get RID of all those on the School Board locally and across the country and replace them with members who are not only passionate about teaching children but UNDERSTAND the cognitive ability and physical attributes of developing youngsters. Believe me there are those on the school board who DO NOT NEED to be around ANY children. karate

Thirdly, I would turn the grade system back to its original format i.e.: K-thru 6 Elementary School, 7-9 Middle [jr. high] School; 10-12 High School. Giving children TIME opportunities to GROW adequately within human standard development. They [the school board] are moving/pushing children through school like cattle-too fast. Caring less and less if they are actually learning anything! Human development can sometime happen early or later. It appears the school board has forgotton that. Lastly, bigger playgrounds, small class size AND give children back their SUMMER. Summer gives them time to think...to socialize and to grow into the next level of maturity. Remember summertime yall? What fun! Huh? Children need good ol' fashion fun. But most importantly I would give the POWER of the classroom back to the teachers. And make it mandatory for parent participation. And each district would be based on an academic point system in terms of how MUCH money is allocated to their region. I know I know. Wishful thinking. But this is the direction I would go if I had the POWER to do so. Thanks for asking Sista Rowe....great topic. tfro
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
Not "rigid" but precise. And once you master its precision then you discover its power and it ceases to be boring.



Brother Honest, YOU ARE ON A ROLL! Is that more Math poetry? Lay it down my brother! You should document these poems and compile them into a book for kids. Better yet, if you can add a nice beat to them, they can become "math raps." These wonderful poems may inspire students to want to do math. You can market your inspiration to the public.
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
If I had MY WAY keeping it very SIMPLE....I would revert the system back to the basic 3R's: Reading, 'Riting and 'Rthmetic.


I agree that there needs to a major emphasis placed on acquiring basic skills. However, students are benefitting from those thematic and interdisciplinary units that expose them to a myriad of subjects. For example, some schools are encouraging its teachers to integrate subjects. Social Studies can be taught with History, for example, and Math with Science.

When I was a student, however, each subject was treated as a unique discipline. You didn't know how Science related to Math or how Social Studies related to History, and so on. Today, students are learning about the commanalities between these important subjects. Research studies also show that children better retain information when they understand how subjects are co-dependent and/or interrelated. Using students' prior knowledge to acquire new knowledge is the key. I mean, really, how can one teach History without teaching Social Studies? Students must be informed about the social context of important events that took place in the past so that they can relate them to what happens in the present (and what may happen in the future).

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Secondly, I would get RID of all those on the School Board locally and across the country and replace them with members who are not only passionate about teaching children but UNDERSTAND the cognitive ability and physical attributes of developing youngsters.


I am with you 100% on this point. tfro

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Thirdly, I would turn the grade system back to its original format i.e.: K-thru 6 Elementary School, 7-9 Middle [jr. high] School; 10-12 High School.


That's interesting because some studies suggest that kids in US schools are spending too much time in school. In other words, they seem to think eighteen years of grade school is overdoing it. What concerns me, however, is the public's attitude about school and what they think is the purpose for schooling. Have public schools become holding cells for children to stay while their parents work? Are teachers merely "babysitters" for busy and working parents? What is really the purpose of school? These are important questions that the members of our society should seriously investigate. Everyone wants to feel that their job, their profession, is valued by the members of their society. And so do teachers. Teachers should not be viewed as "glorified babysitters" for the "more accomplished" members of our society. Not very many people know this, but teachers are not destitute. The teaching profession employs a very accomplished group of people. In fact, I don't have the stats at the moment, but the majority of teachers in schools across the country have earned bachelor's degrees, and a large percentage of those teachers have advanced Master's and Doctorate degrees, and they earn competitive salaries. So though the public opinion (myth) is that teachers are "poor" and "destitute", the truth is, they are not.

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Lastly, bigger playgrounds, small class size AND give children back their SUMMER. Summer gives them time to think...to socialize and to grow into the next level of maturity.


I have noticed the summers have gotten shorter for kids (and teachers) too. Vacations have been curtailed and school time has been added. Our school system seems to think that more school time and more work equals smarter children. But are they just as concerned about the quality of work that is being done?

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But most importantly I would give the POWER of the classroom back to the teachers. And make it mandatory for parent participation.


Now, this has been an ageless concern for all teachers: HOW TO GET MORE PARENTS INVOLVED IN THEIR KIDS' EDUCATION. So many books have been written about this topic and so much research conducted. It is an aggravating concern for teachers. As parents have become more and more busy and preoccupied with work, they have become less and less interested in their childrens' academic, and in a growing number of cases, personal development. As a result, the responsibilities and roles of a teacher have significantly increased. And sadly, the line between teacher and caretaker have become blurred.
Originally posted by Rowe:
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Brother Honest, YOU ARE ON A ROLL! Is that more Math poetry? Lay it down my brother! You should document these poems and compile them into a book for kids. Better yet, if you can add a nice beat to them, they can become "math raps." These wonderful poems may inspire students to want to do math. You can market your inspiration to the public.



fro Sista Rowe! You're on a "roll." Sistagirl... What a WONDERFUL idea! Wow...when brilliant minds get together....dynamic things happen. Great idea! Since every other kid want's to be either a rap star or basketball player...male and female...what a marvelous incentive for LEARNING! cabbage Make it fun....and most importantly educational. Excellent job! tfro

Youwhooo..? Brotherhonest...I KNOW you're listening. Smile Multi-talent/creativity is within ALL of us especially in our approach in teaching children. Definitely somethin' to think anyway. And an outstanding and ARTISTIC avenue to go to utilize your expertise and knowledge in a child-friendly format. Plus when you add music to the flo'....then discovery of math [for children] really begins.... have "we" convinced you yet? I agree 1,000% with Sista Rowe. You're a genius. Spread some of "that" to our children....please. fro
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Originally posted by negrospiritual:
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Originally posted by HonestBrother:

It is not about feeling. It IS about seeing..


Iono bro HB,

If I'm not feeling it...I ain't seeing it ek

maybe a gender thing?


No...

its taught in a way that does not do it justice... which makes it a strictly cerebral pondering rather than a dynamic engagement with the natural world or its purposeful community usage....

Math was taught to me through geometry...
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Originally posted by Khalliqa:
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:

It is not about feeling. It IS about seeing..


Iono bro HB,

If I'm not feeling it...I ain't seeing it ek

maybe a gender thing?


No...

its taught in a way that does not do it justice... which makes it a strictly cerebral pondering rather than a dynamic engagement with the natural world or its purposeful community usage....

Math was taught to me through geometry...



Which is along the lines of what I meant when I referred to seeing. This is a type of dynamic engagement with the world. Or rather a metaphorical means through which we can engage with the world.

I very frequently teach my students concepts through pictures. I teach them to visualize the concept. ... to relate it to something that can be more easily comprehended.

Perhaps I should not have suggested detachment from feeling altogether. Certainly one can experience wonder and awe in mathematics. But I was attempting to convey that fear in particular not only gets in the way of understanding mathematics, it also gets in the way of dynamic engagement with the world. It merely paralyzes.

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