RE: [xmca] Help in teaching and learning maths

From: Monica Behrend <Monica.Behrend who-is-at>
Date: Wed Jun 11 2008 - 15:35:16 PDT

Hi Andy,

One more response to add to the others.

I used to be a secondary maths teacher and secondary maths teacher
educator for many years. More recently at UniSA in the role of language
and learning support, I was working with Nursing students to improve
their maths for the purpose of medication calculations. I believe that
students need to have a variety of ways that the maths concepts are
established and not always just using the abstract (chalk & talk)
method. Rather include: concrete examples, visuals, real life problems
for application and discussion. My recommendations are as follows.

1. Change the role ... Let Marissa teach Dad or a friend ... Let her
talk and explain i.e. let her explain 'what is going on in your head?'
and the listener quietly ask the question why? Maths is a beautiful
subject and about finding patterns. Often teachers do the talking and
try to 'stuff' heads ... But in reality as we know, learning is about
making sense of it yourself. Hopefully that will lead to more 'Eureka'
experiences for Marissa!

2. Deal with the maths anxiety - it is real! Do a brief check of
attitudes to maths, go to the self-assessment of maths attitudes page on
the Mathpower website (Note: you
may wish to turn down the sound!). This is to the point!

3. Check the websites ... After lots of trawling on the web to find some
interactive and 'user-friendly' websites, this one has become my
favourite for working with people who have a block against maths. The
website has been updated since I last used it and it is even funkier
now! I think a 13 yr old would love it.

4. Find lots of different ways to explore what the concepts mean. In
preparing secondary maths teachers to teach in schools in remote areas
of the Pacific (i.e. without electricity and resources) we found a
variety of objects were beautiful for maths conceptualisation... from
coral, to discarded car tyres, to a set of playing cards! Let
imagination take over ... Maths is everywhere and exciting!

All the best Marissa,

Monica Behrend
University of South Australia

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
Sent: Tuesday, 10 June 2008 6:21 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; Peter Blunden
Subject: [xmca] Help in teaching and learning maths

I need help from some of you briliant educaitonalists out there. This is
help of a personal not a professional kind.

My brother, Peter, has a very bright 13 year old daughter, Marissa, who
wants a science career and is bright enough to have gained entry to the
elite public school in Sydney, but she flunks maths. Like so many people
I have known over the years, she just doesn't get it. 99/100 for any
other subject, 40/100 for maths.

Peter will do anything to solve this problem. He is no fool, but had
architecture training and is a GIS systems person, not a teacher. Just a
father, not a teacher.

I promised that I would find him an article which a non-academic could
understand that would help him help Marissa "get" maths. I would help,
but I live 1000km away.

Does anyone have a URL for something he could read which would help? Or
any little tips?

with thanks

Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 Skype
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Received on Wed Jun 11 15:36 PDT 2008

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