kitchen table math, the sequel: what do students want, part 2

Thursday, March 25, 2010

what do students want, part 2

from Laurie Rogers:

Students said they want:
  • More “examples”
  • “Explanations,” line by line, of how to do each skill
  • Helpful “resources” within the textbook structure, such as the meanings of words, “answers,” “glossary,” directory, lists of mathematical procedures, explanations of mathematical symbols
  • Clearer and simpler language, “easier to read and understand”
  • Classical math – the math schools used to teach, the math that will get them to college without remediation – with “equations, algorithms, formulas, theorems”
  • Useful “visuals”
  • Uncomplicated word problems; (or) No more word problems
  • Content that’s germane to them, to their life, to college and to their future
  • More time and opportunity to “practice” skills
  • Small, portable machines that will calculate for them
  • The paid adult in the classroom to actually show them how to do things
  • To be allowed to progress when they understand something
  • Help from a “Website”
  • To learn a skill before they’re told to use it
  • A textbook that isn’t so big and heavy
  • A book they can work in at home

Rogers, L. (December, 2009). "School district excludes feedback from committee, students." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site

I'm especially partial to "learn a skill before they're told to use it," thanks to C.'s experience in middle school math, where the first application was always on the test. The kids went from seeing a procedure done a couple of times in class to one or two ungraded homework assignments practicing the procedure to multiple-step word problems applying that procedure on a graded test.

Two years of misery.

what do students want, part 1


TerriW said...

Small, portable machines that will calculate for them

Hmm. I wonder what we could *call* such a machine, if only one were to exist ... ?

I know! A calculatron!

Catherine Johnson said...

lollll --- !

I asked myself the same question when I read that line ---

Catherine Johnson said...

I wonder why she put it that way -- maybe the kids were including things like iTouches?

Crimson Wife said...

My DD would probably have "no word problems" high on her math wish list but when using math IRL, one is rarely handed an equation to solve. The math I use day in and day out are basically word problems:

"Crimson Wife has $70 in her wallet. She has to fill up her 12 gallon gas tank at $3.13/gallon. She also has to pay the $15 co-pay at the pediatrician's office. Does she have enough cash to purchase 2 kids' meals costing $4.99 each and a salad for herself costing $6.49? (ignore tax as she also has a bunch of loose change)"