[Numeracy 288] Re: Linking word- and number-based language

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Michael Gyori tesolmichael at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 4 15:11:42 EDT 2010

Greetings all,

I believe that George has alluded to fundamental issues in the teaching learning cycle, specifically empathetic scaffolding, and making our learners aware that they and their teacher are in the same boat - learning and teaching together as we wade through whatever learning objectives may be on the plate.  This is another example of the crucial role of affect in education.

One of my students, who is from Turkey, and I have decided to work on a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) preparatory program together.  He is very bright and eager to be cognitively challenged.  His highest level of edcuational attainment is freshman-level college English.  He graduated from high school in Turkey.  This is a test I was not required to take for acceptance into graduate school years ago because it was not deemed predictive of success in a very rigorous program in teaching English to speakers of other languages.  So... both of us are about to embark on a new learning path.  I told my student it might be a difficult one for both of us to tread, and he (as am I) are very much looking forward to the journey.

Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 

From: George Demetrion <gdemetrion at msn.com>
To: Numeracy List <numeracy at nifl.gov>; mmanly at earthlink.net
Sent: Sat, April 3, 2010 10:36:38 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 286] Re: Linking word- and number-based language

Good afternoon all,
Emphatically agreed on the second sentence of the first paragraph (below).  Not so sure concrete operations is the key factor (magic bullet) into meaningfulness, which may (or may not) impede it. If anything, empathetic scaffolding (in which the scaffolding is provided by the students as well as the teacher--definitely my experience) is very close to, if not actually one of the foundational pivots that make meaningfulness possible, which for me is emerging through a combination of solid explanation at a level that can be grasped by all (me included) and plenty of practice.
The caveat I would like to offer is that the teacher's style and inclinations are very much part of the mix, which will factor in a great deal of what will be focused on, including "real-world" verses more abstract mathematical problem solving.
As a low to emerging mid range basic math learner is helping students master the basics.  To the extent that my knowledge develops I will likely be able to draw on a broader range of methodology and materials, but I try not to get ahead of myself in what I am able to do in the class, which seems to be working, more or less.  This has included--most recently in dealing with order of operations involving absolute values--students showing me how to solve a problem or three. 
Among other thing we've established a class environment where people feel okay saying where we're stuck and us figuring out problems, one at a time with everyone participating. 
To be sure our two classes are small and the students imbibe the core principles of adult education. To be sure, also, this class would be more than receptive to a format based on the EFF Math Standards, though as a transition to college class, I think the class is better served through a basic skills developmental process.
George Demetrion
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 23:56:22 -0700
From: tesolmichael at yahoo.com
To: mmanly at earthlink.net; numeracy at nifl.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 283] Re: Linking word- and number-based language

Hello Myrna and all,

What I'm suggesting is that in teaching we're dealing with moving targets amongst our learners. The overarching question, in my mind, is what might trigger meaningfulness from the perspective of an individual learner.

Magnitude and quantity simply do not reside in quite the same conceptual realm. Let's consider the notion of the value of math from the perspective of adults who consider themselves to be successful.  One "content standard," as represented in Equipped for the Future (EFF) has to do with:

Decision-Making Skills
* Solve Problems
* Make Decisions
* Plan
* Use Math to Solve Problems and Communicate (see http://eff.cls.utk.edu/fundamentals/eff_standards.htm).
When we delve into vectors, we are presumably at a "level" beyond what may relate to the math we would even entertain teaching at a "basic and functional" level.
In fact, I'm not even thinking in terms of "low-level" learners, because I embrace the notion of multiple intelligences.   We all struggle in face of certain arenas of  the mental and affective realms. 
A rather vague response, but perhaps a platform upon which further discussion can ensue?
 Michael A. Gyori
Maui International Language School 

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