Monday, June 4, 2012

change your a negative attend of math

Too often, students have a negative attitude toward learning math. You can
take steps to reverse that attitude. You can provide students with opportunities
to develop personal connections to math so they value the acquisition
of math knowledge. Neuroscience research reveals a connection between enjoyable, participatory learning and long-term memory.

Students work harder and persevere through challenges when they have concrete personal
goals and motivation for mastering the subject knowledge. With interest
and lasting memory, your students can learn math with a depth of comprehension
that extends beyond the test—and even beyond summer vacation.
Interventions that can help students overcome their negative attitudes
include the following:
• Evaluating and planning so that each student works at an individually
appropriate level of achievable challenge.
• Building missing foundation skills through strategies such as “errorless
math,” prediction and estimating, and scaffolding with cue words,
previews, and calculators.
• Teaching to students’ strengths and with their interests in mind.
• Recognizing the link between effort and goal achievement.
• Using strategies to reduce negative responses to mistakes (e.g., modeling
appropriate reactions, discussing common mistakes and how to avoid them)
and increase levels of participation.

We’ll explore each of these interventions in the following chapters,
but the concept of achievable challenge is an important underlying principle
that is worth emphasizing here. Indeed, a central goal of this book
is to show you how to diff erentiate for each student’s level of achievable
challenge. No two classes have students with the same learning strengths,
cultural infl uences, special needs, foundational skills, and conceptual levels
in math numeracy, language, or reading abilities. Sometimes students come
to our classrooms from schools with less successful math instruction or
schools that use different instructional systems. 

Teachers who use strategies to diff erentiate and adapt the curriculum according to the foundational
knowledge of their students increase the likelihood of successfully meeting
those students’ varying needs. However, professional development and
mentoring that target new curriculum content sometimes fall short. To fi ll
this gap, I’ll describe how to evaluate each student’s achievable challenge
level relative to each new unit so instruction can be applied appropriately
to lower the barriers, not the bar.

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