Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Precise speech is critical in math.

Here something just posted on twitter:
Here's the picture:

Now, I know Jack Diddly about teaching kids that young, but I do know this: They're not stupid ... but every kid in the room will read that and struggle a bit on the vocabulary. The font choice will explode the dyslexics' minds (I can barely get "birthday", and "edch" took me a second because the ascender on "a" makes it look too similar to a "d". Yeah, that says "each".)

It's cuetsy and I guess that's okay for first graders.


When you say "12 classmates", you are directly, explicitly and literally saying that there are 12 other people in the room; Glenda is the 13th student.

Precision in your language is critical. Clear and correct problem statements are essential.  These kids are barely in their comfort zone and you're pitching curveballs and changing it up with high heat?

This is precisely where kids develop their fear of mathematics, where they learn that they don't know how to read it, and where they learn to dread trying word problems because the words don't mean what the kids think they mean.

The teacher doesn't have a clue as to how dangerous this little problem can be.

Kids get confused when they try to understand and keep getting corrected for something that is actually incorrectly stated. Kids get frustrated when you say "at least 10" when you mean "more than 10" and then you don't acknowledge that 10 is valid for one but not the other.

They wind up just getting by and letting the confusion (and the understanding) flow right on past and out the window. Too much of this and we will have lost another generation. It's the fault of this and the next five elementary-level math-phobic teachers.

Thanks for nothing.

1 comment:

  1. Your post illuminates a powerful issue, MC! Thank you! I can only hope that someone points this out to the parent so that he/she can address it with the school. : >