What Makes A Good Math Student?

13 Apr

Why are some students more successful than others? What does it take to be a successful math student? This is the question that has been posed to us through our EMTH 350 class, and the answer has come down to two things: reading, and pattern recognition.

If a student is having trouble reading a problem, and comprehending that information, they aren’t going to be able to do the math part either. It is the first step when solving a problem. It makes sense, then, that we teach literacy in mathematics.  How does this look?  Emphasizing literacy in mathematics will work on the literacy skills and continue to strengthen those skills. The stronger the skill, the more everyone will be able to understand the problem.

Having students read out is a way to strengthen reading skills, rather than reading the questions yourself.  Whether it is having everyone in the room read out loud, or an individual, or one on one when a student asks a question, having them read the question will have them understand it better.

Going over words that are going to be used in different units is also important, and having a visual to return to when building a vocabulary. We learned about PWIM’s (Picture Word Inductive Model) that can help build vocabulary. Taking a picture of what students see and building on that, and having them come up with their own vocabulary, is a way to promote literacy. Brainstorming and creating own definitions of what words mean is also another way to emphasize certain words and promote that literacy.

Sometimes we can take for granted the amount that we are able to understand because we can read. If a student isn’t able to comprehend those language elements, they aren’t going to be able to understand much else. Finding ways to approach this when teaching will help with the understanding of any subject.

Math is all about patterns, and being able to see a pattern and formulate an answer. The stronger the pattern recognition skill, the easier math skills will be transferred.  In the youngest ages you learn these skills first, from counting, shapes and many other pattern things that are essentially enforcing math skills.  Where patters is more to do with mathematics, literacy is for learning in general.



One Response to “What Makes A Good Math Student?”

  1. Alex February 24, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    Thanks for the informative post. I’m writing an essay in my class on this subject and your points will be very helpful.

    Have a good day,

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