THE MAJOR TURNING POINT AGAINST MATH THAT I AM SEEING WITH STUDENTS ARE AT 5TH GRADE AND ALGEBRA 2 :
More than any other subject, lack of skills and confidence in mathematics can destroy a child’s confidence and prevent the child from taking advantage of many educational programs and job opportunities down the road. Most of the time, there is a teaching disability rather than a learning disability.
1. Not the right way of explanation of concepts :
From 5th grade onwards the students are introduced to advanced math concepts, and from there the confusion starts. I have to blame it on the bad explanation from the teachers and the lack of motivation from the students . This age is the student’s turning point due to their hormone changes.Students faced with lots of distractions at this age. They need strong parenting and strong role model teachers at this age. So learning hard concepts in math is a challenge.
2. Not enough practice :
Math can only be learned through practice. School work is not enough practice. There, they are running around with different concepts just to meet with the benchmark needs.
3. No exposure to advanced problem solving in early years:
Students need to be exposed to advanced thinking and logical problem solving from as early as 3rd grade. Most of the schools are not doing it. It is beyond the scope of their time. Some schools provides tests like CML/Olympiad e.t.c. but not many teachers are explaining the methods in class.
So, parents need to provide this exposure for their kids
4. Text books with no logical order:
Take a look at any math textbook from 4th grade onwards. They are not at all in a logical order! Just for the sake of review they are filled with easy materials, and kids are not getting enough challenges. This will destroy their motivation to learn. And whenever a hard concept is introduced there is no proper explanation nor enough practice. This will destroy their confidence. With no confidence and no motivation, you can think about the after effect.
5. The don’t-care attitude of teachers about grades and placements.
I have seen that teachers are telling students that there is no need to worry about getting C’s or D’s and it doesn’t matter if you placed in the lowest level math class in middle school. At this tender age, teachers need to create high expectations in each child and help them reach there. Instead, to them everything is okay, which is a really bad attitude. I have to say, teachers who don’t want to do their job are the ones misleading the kids.
It’s the same with Algebra 2, especially the Algebra 2 book at high schools. It has tons of materials and teachers are rushing to finish the chapters. Students who are exposed to only direct problems so far are having a tough time even understanding the questions. This is just because they are not used with indirect problem solving . Without that skill, no one can survive in Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, and just forget about Calculus. So from the early ages, we need to improve their problem solving skills.
With coming up blogs, I will explain the ways to improve and how parents can take control.