kitchen table math, the sequel: learned disability

Friday, December 18, 2009

learned disability

from the Comments thread on Paul's post, Creating Learning Disabilities,

Exo wrote:
I think you are right, Paul. Learned disability - and it's almost impossible to correct in later years.

I see the same in my HS science classes. Elementary computations, numbers make them look like the deer in headlight...They ARE afraid. The ones that are not are either my ESL students who recently moved to the US or "math kids." And please, we don't do anything higher than what in Soviet schools would count as 6th grade... Maybe even 5th.

It's just that immediate "I don't get it" as soon as the numbers are involved.

I think the psych term for this phenomenon is learned helplessness.

According to this woman, it takes about 5 minutes to induce learned helplessness in a 20-year old.

Unfortunately, the teacher ends up saying girls are specific victims of learned helplessness.

I'm pretty sure the person operating the camera doesn't agree.


Redkudu said...

>>Unfortunately, the teacher ends up saying girls are specific victims of learned helplessness.<<

Maybe I missed something. I thought the teacher drew a clear line between the activity and the text she cited: "Reviving Ophelia."

It seems to me, by her words, that the class has been studying the text mentioned and her exercise was to elucidate some aspect of the text which, having read "Reviving Ophelia," I can see.

The learned helplessness portion before the resolution of the lesson to coincide with the text is powerful. I'd like teachers to see this before they go into the classroom.

Redkudu said...

Okay, I've read your comment again and I think I see what you're saying. I've watched the video about three times now, and I'm amending my comment to say that I think this should be reproduced for teachers in training. I wonder if most ed school programs have a component that talks about learned helplessness at all?

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Anonymous said...

Meh. It would have been convincing if the level of difficulty were the same in all three words. Essentially, one side of the room got their brains warmed up with easy ones, and the other side didn't, making the last one much harder, regardless of anything else going on.