If a student said “I hate math! I’m not good at math, and I never will be!” I would try to figure out why they felt that way. Maybe it was because they were frustrated with a particular problem or newly introduced concept, in which case I would figure out a different way to reteach the concept. Maybe it is because they are in a math class that is just too advanced and they are falling behind. It could be that the student is comparing their ability to someone else’s and they are upset because they do not think they are as good as their friend. Whatever the reason behind their anti-math comment, I would reassure them that they can most defiantly can do it but it might take a little work. I would also try to make it more appealing, and dare I say fun, by incorporating things that they do enjoy.
This essay from chapter 5 of Eleanor Duckworth’s book “The Having of Wonderful Ideas” was not anything I was expecting. I could actually relate to it in the sense that I have been in many classes where the right answer was more important than how I arrived at it. Typically, tests are given to measure how well you grasped a concept, or as Dr. Duckworth put it, “…fill in the blank and move on…”. The problem with that approach is you do not know if the student simply memorized the answers or actually understands the reasoning behind that “right” answer. In science, for instance, observations during an experiment can sometimes support multiple conclusions. Should a student that can explain, in dept, more than one potential conclusion or an alternative conclusion to one provided by a teacher get a deduction in points because they did not arrive at the “correct” answer? I don’t think so. If anything, this student should be praised for thinking outside the box and using their reasoning skills.
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