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Only 27% Of Aspiring Teachers Pass Math Test

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posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:34 AM

Originally posted by SearchLightsInc

Factorise: 15x4y + 20x2y3 + -35x3yz2

I'm guessing you meant for the 4 after the x to be the exponent, the same with the other numbers after the variables. If so then you find the GCF of the constants (15, 20 and 35) which is 5. Then choose the lowest exponent represented by each variable which would be x squared, and y.

Those terms are outside the parentheses, with the rest (by division) left inside giving you:
5x^2y(3x^2 + 4y^2 - 7xz^2) I'm using the ^ to represent the next number is the exponent.

I am so sorry you feel that you have never had a good math teacher. Then you certainly understand even more than most that such a trend can't continue.

[edit on 4-6-2009 by Fogweb]

posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 10:47 AM
reply to post by Fogweb

oh yeah, i get it.....sort of

just out of curiosity, do you think that part of the problem is that maths is explained in language that isn't used outside of math.

it occurs to me because to understand what you meant i had to work out what you meant by the words "exponent", "variables", "GCF" (what does the G mean) and the word "parentheses".

if you understand these words the explanation is great, the math is simple, if not, it's complex gibberish. scary stuff for most.

the problem for me was not the complexity of the logic, it was the language used to express the problem.

to an extent, the mathematical urge to simplify works to complicate it.

[edit on 4/6/09 by pieman]

posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 11:50 AM
You are exactly right.
Math is almost a foreign language in it's own right. The words have such precise meanings and that can be very confusing to students. Vocabulary instruction is an essential part of any good math class.
That's one reason I think all math teachers should also have training in language instruction. I became much better when our school went to a 'team' model of teaching where all subject teachers worked together with a group of students. The reading teacher taught me better ways to get my students to understand the basic vocabulary. Once they have that, the numbers are so much easier.

The G stands for Greatest. The Greatest Common Factor is the largest number than can divide evenly without a remainder into a set of numbers.

posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 12:20 PM
reply to post by Fogweb

so don't you think it might be worth while simplifying the language for the purposes of teaching the concepts and then introducing complexity and preciseness of language as required?

a lot of educational reform centres on methods of instruction and facilities but there isn't a huge emphasis, i believe, on assessing which are the most important aspects of the subject. for my money, in math, grasping the concepts and the numbers is far more important than the names used for the numbers.

why waste time teaching the children the names of the numbers when it's more important to teach the concepts.

maths seems to take it's root words from greek aswell, this baffles me, i know there are important greek mathematicians but the rest of our language is latin based, i believe maths would be more easily understood when things are described using latin roots.

that just jumps out at me, i might be talking out of my hat.

posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:10 PM
To myself, Mathematics was difficult to grasp until I learned Euclidean Geometry. Working with Proofs and Theorems, rather than numbers, made me understand mathematics on a whole different level. From there, it was purely a matter of understanding the notation (or symbols) inherent to Mathematics and the rest was cake from there on out.

Every child has a different learning style. This is very much true. Some children learn better by being taught by rote, reciting long Mathematical tables. Some children learn better by being taught conceptually. Some children learn better by being taught through practical application. Some children learn better by being taught "tricks" (like how to leverage patterns in mathematics, for example, discovering if the difference between two answers to a mathematical equation is due to a transposition error, or a failure to carry a number, by dividing the difference by 9...or understanding that if the digits add up to 9 then they are divisible evenly by 9). This is why teachers must intimately understand these fields from many different perspectives, to better help all of their students understand, rather than struggle with, the field they are charged to instruct.

However, using the argument of a learning curve to understand the notation or language used in a field is an empty one. Mathematics is no different in this respect than Psychology with it's use of medical terms and it's frequent references to Greek Mythology, or Chemistry with atomic notation, or History with it's dating mechanisms, or even Music with musical notation and scales, and Art with the color wheel and complimentary colors. Every field has it's own terminology that must be intimately understood before one can gain understanding of the material presented in that field. You cannot excuse poor Geography skills and the inability to point out where Africa is on a world map based on the argument that since they refer to equatorial, longitude, latitude and different map styles which you cannot pronounce, along with something about degree scales, that the field of Geography is too difficult to understand because it uses terminology and notation that is unfamiliar to you. It is the same with Mathematics!

posted on Jun, 4 2009 @ 01:15 PM
Also, at times as simple as parts of maths may just "click" for you, i have a tendency to forget what ive learned about the subject which doesnt help. The fact that these things dont get used in everyday life REALLY doesnt help.

Out of all the subjects in schools today its obvious Maths is the most difficult to teach, maybe what this thread should have been asking in the first place is How do you improve such "poor" results?

posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 06:18 AM

Originally posted by fraterormus
However, using the argument of a learning curve to understand the notation or language used in a field is an empty one. Mathematics is no different in this respect than Psychology.............

the difference between math and any of these fields is that math is a system of abstract thought, where each of those subjects is a system of explanation.

the human mind stores images far more readily than abstractions. psychology, chemistry, history and geography all have terminology to describe concepts that can be easily imagined, math, for the most part, has no ready image to attach to the terms used.

this is why geometry is more easily understood than algerbra, by most people, the ability to attach terms and concepts to images means it is easier to imagine and remember the concepts, making it easier to learn.

my belief is that using terminology that already has abstract meaning would ease learning. for instance, to take an example from above:
the technical term parentheses was used. while correct, it isn't the common term and it isn't easily fixed to existing knowledge. calling them brackets would be easier.
now i know there's probably a reason why they aren't called brackets, but whatever that reason is, i don't think it'll cause any issue for the person just learning the concept.

[edit on 5/6/09 by pieman]

posted on Jun, 16 2009 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by SearchLightsInc

Hello SearchLights,

I am not sure if you are still checking this thread. I am a relatively new teacher here in the states, and I can sympathize that a lot of the requirements of teacher preparation programs are senseless and driven more by politics than what the students need. I can also sympathize that your education was less than adequate.
The thing is, as a teacher, you will need to be very skilled academically, especially in grammar and spelling, as well as math and numerous other subjects. Kids are expecting you to be very well educated, and in some ways incapable of error. While not fair, it is true, and if you have any deficiencies they will point them out, and you will loose an important aspect for gaining the respect of your students.
There are lots of jobs that would allow you to work in education, and with students, yet don't require as much in traditional academics, you may want to change paths while it is still easy.
I hope you are successful in your studies, and if you work as a teacher that you are successful there too. If you are working with very young kids, you probably will be fine once you get working. I am not trying to put you down, but do want you to think about it.


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