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Thread: Teaching Student Poor In Mathematics

  1. #1
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    Teaching Student Poor In Mathematics

    Just sharing my experience. Hopefully it would be of benefits to some.

    Background : this student has been failing his Math, the reason recognized by his parents and doctors was he has limitation in his brain function plus attention deficiency due to some kind of condition. The student told me on his first lesson, he has the above-mentioned difficulties and that I don't place too much hope in him doing well.

    My objective : help him to build confident in his ability to learn Math and hopefully he could learn math normally and at least pass his Math in SPM which he will be sitting at the end of the year.

    Teaching someone who is poor in mathematics; the following are what I believe.

    Observe and identify the learning capacity of the student.

    Example:
    - Short span of attention
    - Low information storage capacity – the brain felt saturated after some learning
    - Knowledge doesn’t stay in memory for long
    - level of basic mathematics knowledge, root, power, -ve value, etc

    Mental preparation of a teacher

    - know your objective - the student must understand what is taught at the end of the lesson
    - be patient
    - don't set expectation because expectation would affect teacher's emotion.
    - be prepared to repeat what you have taught
    - Teacher must maintain a positive attitude; motivate student to ask question and allow break when student respond slowly.

    Techniques
    - Not too much of talking, student lose focus
    - Check student respond after your explanation
    - Use language that layman can understand
    - Emphasize terms to learn/remember
    - Teach student to read and understand question
    - Teach student to analyze question, identify information given in the question
    - Teach student to plan how to solve the problem before working on the answer
    - Ask students to repeat what he understood – to check if he really understand
    - Review what was taught and ask student to teach you what he has learnt.
    - Regularly repeat question that the student has difficulty to remember or understand until the answer stays with him.
    - Try different approach if student have difficulty to understand a concept.
    - Always recap what was taught before end of lesson, ask the student to tell you what he has learnt in that lesson.
    - Analyze student’s working to know what he doesn’t understand or goes wrong.

    Important
    - Student must understand each topic before you move on, this helps to remember the content, reduce confusion
    - Spot good working of the students – highlight what he did well, encourage him to do the same
    - Give frequent break as needed, this reduce stress for both student and teacher

    The above mentioned works for this student, in his recent Math test, he got an A. I hope it works for other struggling students too.

  2. #2
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    Excellent..you must be a teacher.

  3. #3
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    A boy who just turned 5 knows what is eg 12x2 =24 or 5x7=35.

    Is that good enough?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naka View Post
    A boy who just turned 5 knows what is eg 12x2 =24 or 5x7=35.

    Is that good enough?
    Depend on the meaning of know

    - if he understands why 12x2 is equal to 24 or 5x7 is equal 35, then he is GOOD.

    - if he memorizes it, then just ok...

    Most 5-6 years old kids (in Malaysia) with Chinese language pre-school background have no qualm to give you the answer from 2x1=2 to 12x12=144, mostly from memorization, not understanding..
    井蛙不可语于海 , 夏虫不可语于冰.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennylim View Post
    ....The above mentioned works for this student, in his recent Math test, he got an A.
    You are excellent ...

    I wish the student ---> 更上一层楼
    井蛙不可语于海 , 夏虫不可语于冰.

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much for sharing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennylim View Post
    Just sharing my experience. Hopefully it would be of benefits to some.

    Background : this student has been failing his Math, the reason recognized by his parents and doctors was he has limitation in his brain function plus attention deficiency due to some kind of condition. The student told me on his first lesson, he has the above-mentioned difficulties and that I don't place too much hope in him doing well.

    My objective : help him to build confident in his ability to learn Math and hopefully he could learn math normally and at least pass his Math in SPM which he will be sitting at the end of the year.

    Teaching someone who is poor in mathematics; the following are what I believe.

    Observe and identify the learning capacity of the student.

    Example:
    - Short span of attention
    - Low information storage capacity – the brain felt saturated after some learning
    - Knowledge doesn’t stay in memory for long
    - level of basic mathematics knowledge, root, power, -ve value, etc

    Mental preparation of a teacher

    - know your objective - the student must understand what is taught at the end of the lesson
    - be patient
    - don't set expectation because expectation would affect teacher's emotion.
    - be prepared to repeat what you have taught
    - Teacher must maintain a positive attitude; motivate student to ask question and allow break when student respond slowly.

    Techniques
    - Not too much of talking, student lose focus
    - Check student respond after your explanation
    - Use language that layman can understand
    - Emphasize terms to learn/remember
    - Teach student to read and understand question
    - Teach student to analyze question, identify information given in the question
    - Teach student to plan how to solve the problem before working on the answer
    - Ask students to repeat what he understood – to check if he really understand
    - Review what was taught and ask student to teach you what he has learnt.
    - Regularly repeat question that the student has difficulty to remember or understand until the answer stays with him.
    - Try different approach if student have difficulty to understand a concept.
    - Always recap what was taught before end of lesson, ask the student to tell you what he has learnt in that lesson.
    - Analyze student’s working to know what he doesn’t understand or goes wrong.

    Important
    - Student must understand each topic before you move on, this helps to remember the content, reduce confusion
    - Spot good working of the students – highlight what he did well, encourage him to do the same
    - Give frequent break as needed, this reduce stress for both student and teacher

    The above mentioned works for this student, in his recent Math test, he got an A. I hope it works for other struggling students too.
    Everyday is a good day for GOOD FOOD and a GOOD LAUGH

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by opulant View Post
    Depend on the meaning of know

    - if he understands why 12x2 is equal to 24 or 5x7 is equal 35, then he is GOOD.

    - if he memorizes it, then just ok...

    Most 5-6 years old kids (in Malaysia) with Chinese language pre-school background have no qualm to give you the answer from 2x1=2 to 12x12=144, mostly from memorization, not understanding..
    I see... I checked, the 5 year old did not memorize it and he mentally worked it out.

    You think he understand it??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naka View Post
    I see... I checked, the 5 year old did not memorize it and he mentally worked it out.

    You think he understand it??
    If he understands 5 x 7 is actually the sum of adding 5 for 7 times. .. or 12 x 2 is the sum of adding 12 for 2 times, then he completely understand it.

    However, if he can figure out the answer without memorizing the multiplication table even though he can't explain the above concept, I think he also understand it with his own way of understanding, and this is good.

    Having said that, the ability to memorize well with good memory is a very powerful strength. In learning, one must first understand then remember/memorize it before you can apply it. Just don't use memory to replace understanding in mathematical concept.
    井蛙不可语于海 , 夏虫不可语于冰.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by opulant View Post
    If he understands 5 x 7 is actually the sum of adding 5 for 7 times. .. or 12 x 2 is the sum of adding 12 for 2 times, then he completely understand it.

    However, if he can figure out the answer without memorizing the multiplication table even though he can't explain the above concept, I think he also understand it with his own way of understanding, and this is good.

    Having said that, the ability to memorize well with good memory is a very powerful strength. In learning, one must first understand then remember/memorize it before you can apply it. Just don't use memory to replace understanding in mathematical concept.
    OK, thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naka View Post
    Excellent..you must be a teacher.
    Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by opulant View Post
    You are excellent ...

    I wish the student ---> 更上一层楼
    Thanks.

    I wish too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by currymee View Post
    Thank you very much for sharing
    My pleasure!

    That’s just a summary of my thoughts and experience. In actual implementation, there’s more to tackle.

    Just sharing a few of them:

    This student always takes a long time to reply my question, like minutes. I just assumed he needed more time to think. One day I decided to find out what took him so long. So, I asked him how he got the answer and how sure he is with his reasoning. He was very sure. So I asked what took him so long to answer. He said that he was worried he might give a wrong answer! He has terrible learning experience in the past.

    There were a few occasions where he gave me nonsense for questions I asked, I was lost for ideas on how to help him. Later, I found out his mind has gone wandering. I couldn’t tell his condition because he always keeps his head down when I talk to him. After I learnt about his condition I told him to stop me and ask for a break if he feels he is losing focus. A nap became part of the lesson, the good thing about this is after the nap he would be totally awake and responds faster.

    Sometimes, he learns by observing pattern, not by understanding, so I would ‘tailor’ my questions such that I could see if he understands or he was just memorizing.

  13. #13
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    If requires a lot of patience and skills to teach less able student and it is not easy to teach someone at a level very different with your level (especially in maths).
    井蛙不可语于海 , 夏虫不可语于冰.

  14. #14
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    I don't really know if I have skill, but I have believes

    This boy’s parents tried very hard to help the child, including seeking medical specialists’ help and signed him up for courses that supposed to help children like him. It reached a point where the parents accepted the child is already at his best! In fact the parent was reluctant when I said I want to help the boy, she think it will be a waste of time. What pushes me to help him was that the parents are kind people who don't deserve so much stress, and I believe in this child more than those specialists and ‘experts’.

    I happen to watch this movie, ‘Accountant’ not long ago, a movie about life of a special person. I find it interesting and meaningful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennylim View Post
    I believe in this child more than those specialists and ‘experts’.

    I happen to watch this movie, ‘Accountant’ not long ago, a movie about life of a special person. I find it interesting and meaningful.
    You are the 伯乐 of this student..

    I watched "accountant" too, I believe the extra-ordinary memory capability on numbers of Ben Afflek in that movie is real..

    My late uncle is a very intelligent fella but unfortunately they (my father and his siblings) didn't have a chance to go to school during their time.

    and also the superiority of English during their era and even now had resulted a lot of capable people with good talent failed to capture the opportunities in this society. Once they failed to master the language and failed the exams, they have to choose a different path which offer less opportunists to demonstrate their raw talent.
    井蛙不可语于海 , 夏虫不可语于冰.

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