Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do Past Experiences Predict Future Progress?

Could it be true that past experience in mathematic is a predictor for student future success?

Perhaps there is some evidence or research out there that may validate the statement that students who may have had unpleasant experiences in mathematics tend to find it more challenging to be successful at it.  An unpleasant experience may not just be the struggle to learn the concepts and formulas to solve problems, but the very personal interaction between students and teachers. In one of our recent survey of students about their past experience revealed some interesting results. About 42% of these students had some form of unpleasant experience before taking our classes. These experiences ranged from having difficulties understanding the material to unsupportive feedback from teachers. Could it be that this discouraging support led to these students frustration, inability to do math and eventually lack of self-confidence and self-esteem? Coincidentally, a sample of our basic skills courses reflect about the same percent of students failing our basic skills course. Maybe we need to explore ways of easing the pain of students past experiences and lead them into a progressive path. Is Web 2.0 helping my students who may have similar experiences to overcome these challenges? Preliminary data seems to indicate a positive trend, but it is still too some to celebrate. Hopefully, my students is enjoying the new technological tools.

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