Monday, April 22, 2013

Math Teachers Strive to Core to At-Risk Students

Math Teachers Strive to Bring Core to At-Risk Students
Education Week Teacher
Published Online March 13, 2013

These math teachers are practicing the prevention of Learning Barrier #4 – Missing Foundational Knowledge or Too Steep a Gradient; and I applaud them!

The learning of any subject requires the correct sequence of the development of knowledge or skill.  Earlier pieces of information are necessary for the later understanding of the advanced steps.

These teachers are breaking down each concept into its basic, foundational pieces and introducing each piece to their students in a methodical, gradient fashion.  This allows the student to learn and digest each piece before the next level of knowledge is given.

Parents – these are all methods you can use to help your children with their homework.

The Common Core State Standards for mathematics are now being introduced in schools across the country.  While many accomplished math teachers are enthusiastic about the standards' emphasis on mathematical reasoning and strategic expertise over rote computation, some say the transition to the new framework poses daunting challenges for students who are already behind in math.

Some math educators are taking steps to refine their practices and adopt creative methods to help at-risk and struggling students make the shift to the new instructional paradigm.

One approach commonly cited by teachers is to maintain the common core’s emphasis on abstract reasoning and conceptual understanding while using word problems that require less advanced math skills.

Similarly, Todd Rackowitz "focuses on problems that don't involve complex computation at first."

"You have to help kids understand how to justify solutions through discussion, interaction, and close guidance.”  When his students are struggling with a problem or new concept, Arcos said he demonstrates how to work through similar problems and discusses his reasoning with them.

Justin Minkel said he also makes an effort to give his students problems that have "practical applicability" to the real world. He noted that he has had success in having his students use what they were learning in math in an economics unit that involved determining the costs of materials for a building project against a budget.  Such activities can help students "make sense of problems and begin thinking about the ways math relates to their own lives.”

I rescue failing students by remedying the Barriers to Learning



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