The right way to learn / teach math

Discussion in 'Math' started by jaygatsby, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. jaygatsby

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 23, 2011
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    I've read this several times on the Internet, and even heard it from another person in real life: "Schools don't teach math the right way." Arguments seem to be based on the terrors of rote memorization, things like that.

    But you know what? I've yet to find a resource explaining what the right way is. What is the right way?

    Thank you
     
  2. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    It will be hard to find a good answer here. Most of us like math anyway, so no matter how they are taught, the lesson was pleasant. For me, at least.

    Now in university however, where I have serious trouble understanding what's going on, I 'd give my right arm if professors gave more, much more application examples along with the theory.
     
  3. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I think the answer depends on the person. Different people learn different ways. I prefer to have real world example/problems to solve. but that only goes so far.

    Then there are maths which are just downright difficult, and if one would probably have trouble grasping it any way it was taught; and in this case, not wanting to admit defeat, they may blame the instructor.
     
  4. amilton542

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    Nov 13, 2010
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    I can only learn math through self-tuition, that is my preference.
     
  5. thatoneguy

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    Feb 19, 2009
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    You pay yourself to learn? :eek:
     
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  6. amilton542

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    Nov 13, 2010
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    If that is the case, I will choose my words more carefully in the future.
     
  7. debjit625

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    Apr 17, 2010
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    I learn math from where ever it is possible...

    No idea...
     
  8. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    AAC taught me math yesterday. it was the high point of my day
     
  9. amilton542

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    Nov 13, 2010
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    Generally, math books up to A level will go through worked examples and give you an exhaustive number of questions to attempt, with the answer being a given in order for you to able to identify your mistakes.

    At the moment, math for me has gone through the roof because I want to be successful when I start uni.

    However, I can remember a while back in the summer I paid for a 5 star rating book from Amazon on Linear Algebra, I opened it up and I was like "What the?" It was all just formulae and notation where no author was present to hold your hand e.g. No worked problems and questions to attempt with given answers.

    So I went back to the drawing board, purchased an introduction to Linear Algebra instead and I work through the book alongside the MIT videos and absorb it one chunk at a time.

    Now it dawns on me, how exactly do you teach yourself advanced math from books that is generally ALL notation.

    Does anybody know the kind of books I'm talking about?
     
  10. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Welcome to my world. If you find out, tell me too. The "easiest" books for me, when it comes down to Control Systems, are the ones with Matlab examples. All I can say is that other students with proficiency in math don't do anything but read notation-only books and rejoice. It comes down to preference, what you like or not.

    Those kids can't stand holding a soldering iron on the other hand, or reading electronic schematics. Each one on his specialty.
     
  11. justtrying

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    Mar 9, 2011
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    Brought back some memories... Eucledian geometry course. No problem for me because I had a solid grasping on all the concepts and after all it is all straight forward. Then non-Eucledian geometry hit me with all concepts no examples and a few questions thrown in along the lines of - so, what would a 2D frog look like in a 4D space... This is where you find out which areas are "your" areas as some people immediately grasp the ideas and others never will. Nothing is wrong with that it is just human brain. Noone can do all things equally well. But you have to discover your own learning strategies because the further you go, the less worked examples there are and the more abstract it becomes. It does rely on having a solid base though i.e. know how to do fractions and draw graphs (free hand).
     
  12. t_n_k

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 6, 2009
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    This discussion could be extended to other areas - science teaching for instance. The Chief Scientist in my country recently raised concerns about the declining interest in studying science at school over the past two decades. Unfortunately teaching methods probably haven't changed that much over that period and the reality is that students are often passive observers in the science classroom - little wonder they disengage. I also think there is an increasing distrust of science and technology in my community.
     
  13. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Distrust in science and technology? How come?
     
  14. t_n_k

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    Mar 6, 2009
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    A lot of it stems from the often acrimonious climate change / carbon pricing debate. People are concerned about their hip pocket. There is a political agenda in some circles to devalue science and undermine scientific rigor. A reasonably intelligent friend of mine said she distrusted the national science organization [CSIRO] because the research was driven by the perennial need to find adequate funding for research and scientists just wanted to keep their pet research projects going - rather than pursuing altruistic ends or anything in the national interest.

    Also technological enterprises such as coal seam gasification have caused serious concerns - particularly in agricultural regions.
     
  15. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    How unfortunate and misleading. Another reason to clarify science's standing as a tool and not as a mean, as early as school. Greece doesn't have such a high scientific status to cause such dilemmas, but our time will come too. Naturally, we won't have learned anything from the advanced world by then.
     
  16. Zazoo

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    Jul 27, 2011
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    I find that some textbooks are written with the idea that they will be used to supplement a lecturer, while others are written with the autodidact in mind.

    I have an excellent digital logic textbook that I used for my course work, but parts of it read more like a reference manual than a textbook. Without an instructor the book would have been largely useless to me.

    When I order books for the semester I will usually find 1 or 2 books on the same subject that have decent reviews and purchase these as supplements to my course textbook. You can get older editions of textbooks for a small fraction of the cost of current editions - usually with no appreciable change in content (unfortunately most "new" editions tend to be nothing more than a rearrangement of problem sets and an update to the graphic design :mad:)

    One of the textbooks will usually "speak to me" better than the others. It's also helpful to see how different authors approach the same topic.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  17. justtrying

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    Mar 9, 2011
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    Then there is a need to arm people with skills on how to critically evaluate the research that comes out. Being sceptical is one thing but distrusting everyone completly is something else. Research supported by the government does not have to be dismissed, but if the results show a clear bias, then questions have to be asked. I understand where this is coming from, it takes one scientist to take money from the government to keep publishing favorable reports on climate mpact of various projects to shut everybody else up and the public does not know how to deal with it. I actually put the blaim on the media that does the government's bidding. There is no free press here.

    The sad part is, critical thinking is not nurtured in schools, and is disappearing faster than ever with the onslaught of technology where every online site is a "valuable" source of information and everybody is an expert.
     
  18. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Schools are not even competent to teach people how to read and write!

    How are they going to teach difficult abstract problem solving? Badly.
     
  19. thatoneguy

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    Feb 19, 2009
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    Need to use Real World problems, something students can relate to.

    For, oh, lets say Georgia, maybe something like:
    That's a well rounded education right there.
     
  20. K7GUH

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    Jan 28, 2011
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    I believe the traditional method of teaching and/or learning is to proceed from the known to the unknown. Whether this is the best method is a judgment call, based, one may hope, on things which can be verified. Like learning to tie a proper bowline. When the knot holds, it is then thought to be of value.
     
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