Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May, Math, May, Math 2012!

It’s been busier than I ever remember, but we’re near the end of the semester (even, the post-survey dates are nea.  Cannot believe it’s May 9th, 2012. Cannot!

The unedited comments help us understand that Math Language of Apathy and acceptance as students navigate into our Blog.  The more the students share about their sympathy and apathy toward the subject at hand, the better faculty can plan a friendly approach to get the students to learn and embrace the online and “pencil and paper” models during the time the course runs (and beyond, hopefully).

Prof. Meangru mentioned in his last post the statistics of how negative past experiences affect how students welcome a college  Math courses.  To further fine-tune our creative juices as faculty,  the extensive discussion we held at our last seminar on Designing for Difficulty: Social Pedagogies as a Framework for Course Design in Undergraduate Education article also helped us further peel the many layers these issues bring to our classroom and pros and cons of assigning group work.  In our math courses group work help those who are apathetic toward the subject/exercise at hand.   During our seminar meeting, we all agreed (for the most part) that apathetic behaviors are conducive to introverted behaviors if the subject is not strength of ours.  I have witnessed with our Math sections group work exercises confident students come forth to support other that are anxious and find the subject difficult.  Especially when the most vivacious and extrovert student may convert to a full introvert when faced with an intricate mathematical function to solve.

Check these comments out:  
-The relevance of Math was present:
“I took math class which is MAT 120. However, the result were positive and i enjoy doing math. Also, my major is related to math [Accounting] and i love solve new problem and help other who don't know.” Nipun Patel
To which D. Lama responded:
“patel i think iam gonna major in accounting. we gonna try to solve problems together..” 1 comment collapsed CollapseExpand
These two students have found a common bond beyond MAT115.  I think this is pretty neat.

-The very important requirement of “liking” a professor’s style/personality  was discussed directly and indirectly:
“Math... okay so when I was a kid I didn't like math…I didn't like it because my mom didn't like it. My dislike for math continued until I ran into a professor that told me to give math a try before I decided not to like it. I soon began to like math, looking at equations as brain teaser puzzles of which I really enjoyed doing. Throughout my math experiences I realized that if students dislike or like math really depends on the teacher. If I have a good teacher I enjoy math and the class and if I have a bad teacher, math is extremely frustrating. However, regardless if the teacher is good or bad, math is what YOU make of it.” E. Council

And
“I have always said that math and me never mixed well and that we were like oil and vinegar. But after I toke math 96 last semester I started to understand the it's language. Now I am taking math 115.1699 and everything is starting to make sense little by little. I now know that math it's a language that has to be learned and be open-minded to understand it.” D.Pereyra

 -It some cases a positive change did take place:
“I've never been a good math student; I've always struggled and barely scraped by with poor grades. My worst experience has got to be the entire 3rd grade, the most difficult math grade for students and that's when all my anxieties and low self confidence started and never ended until now.” L. Alban

-The practical student was there, too:
“Math is fun, because the answer is obvious. There is always one answer for a question, so if your answer is wrong, your way to solve the answer is wrong. It is not like philosophy, so there is always one answer. I hated math when I was a child, but I started to like it now.” K. Takagi

These shared experiences are now an online mini-support systems for students to rely on as the semesters end.    For next week, we cannot wait to revise the test exercise Prof. Meangeru posted this week and give you a glimpse of the interactions with all mathematical solutions to the practice test.

In the mean time, enjoy the last few weeks left of this Spring I 2012.

Prof. De León

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