[Numeracy 97] Re: how age affects learning math
Archived Content Disclaimer
This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.
Wed Feb 3 10:45:03 EST 2010
- Previous message: [Numeracy 95] how age affects learning style
- Next message: [Numeracy 98] Re: how age affects learning math
- Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]
I'm reframing the question, since I don't think "style" is the issue.
I do find some patterns when dealing with students who've been away from "school math" for many years, which makes sense given the research indicating that all too many people process mathematical problems differently if it's "a math problem for school" vs. a situation outside of school.
My fresher-out-of-school folks are sometimes overwhelmed by the way our math courses do mean and horrible things like put extra information in a problem, as a number. I work with them on really imagining the situation, drawing sketches, etc.
My older students have less trouble with that -- but are far more likely to have incredible trouble unlearning things like "+ means you add." -5 + 3 ... it has to be 8, and we'll debate the sign, because it says to add, right there!
When I became aware of the "old models" that had to be torn down and rebuilt, it really helped. I'll sometimes compare it to child development and how a child will, at first, think all hairy four-legged thigns are dogs (or moose, if you're in Alaska) and call out that name... but that as they grow, their understanding grows. It's not that the "rules changed," it's that our understanding deepens.
And yea, the older students are more likely to know the times tables if they went to school before memorization became "beneath" so-called "authentic" learning.
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Champaign, IL 61821
sujones at parkland.edu