Quiet Tuesday

Posted on February 7, 2017


It’s not too busy — I’ve gotten six more “Modumath” lesson skeletons moved into our LMS.   Checked the Lumen Learning job at LinkedIn — no surprises.   The surprise was that I’d gotten around to putting something in my profile, to wit:

I’m an “academic development specialist” at Parkland College. I support students in “pre-college level” courses in math and reading, as well as assorted other areas that I know about.

I firmly believe that many, many more people could be “math people’ — or at least, comfortable enough not to say “I’m not a math person!” — if we actively taught them the concepts, using technology to help them understand the connections between the symbols of math and their concepts and meanings. We should be consciously building the bridge between words, symbols and the concrete and abstract ideas that mathematical symbols and equations stand for.

After 9-10 years in public and private schools working with middle and high school students with “LD” (learning disabled) labels, I taught at The New Community School, where we focused on starting where the student was, building trust (usually in pretty bad shape by then), and building bridges between the concrete and abstract, consciously connecting language to those concepts and connections.

I watched students get smarter before my eyes. Many were bright, gifted students who struggled with school… but many weren’t all that bright. THey *got* smarter when the teaching was better and when they were included in figuring things out. I don’t just mean they “learned better” because things were presented better. I mean they got better at learning.

Instead of deciding that if somebody hasn’t “gotten” concepts by (whenever) that it’s not worth teaching them (especially if they’re in one of the many categories of humans for which we simply lower expectations), perhaps we should look for better ways to convey those ideas. I don’t mean dumb them down and walk the person through everything — I mean to scaffold things and build the cognitive muscles and then ease the scaffolding away, while re-building the student’s expectations. I’m working on an app for that and a few other things…

… okay, back to that “grunt work…”   There are only about 75 lessons to do this with…

Posted in: goals, math education