In elementary school, I loved math! Math made sense, and I looked forward to it every day. In seventh grade, my world changed when I took Algebra 1. The only thing I understood was when the teacher said, “Welcome to class!” Each day, my confidence and love for math sank lower and lower. By the end of the year, I hated math. That was the case through the rest of junior high and high school. In college, I took probability and statistics. The probability was high that I would get a bad grade, and I did. Determined to do better, I did some metacognitive thinking and realized I never understood the teacher’s explanations. I had to teach myself the content using the book. I also had to study in places where I would not get distracted. I took the class again and received an ‘A’. I changed my math learning habits, and my grades and confidence both improved significantly. As an adult basic education instructor, I learned that my struggles with math made me a better teacher since I could explain concepts in a way that students understood. Seeing their success made me love math again!
Hey, I thought this was the reading and writing community! What's all this talk about math? The paragraph above shows the math autobiography technique, one we will be explaining in a live event with LINCS Math Community on September 21 at 2 PM ET. We will learn how writing can help students be more successful in math as well as some classroom ready techniques for writing during math instruction. Improved knowledge about writing in the math classroom can improve students’ conceptual understanding of math topics, decrease their math anxiety, and help them better understand themselves as math learners. Please register HERE.
How has your relationship with math changed over the years?
Steve Schmidt, Moderator
LINCS Reading and Writing Group
Hello Steve and colleagues, When learners write about their experiences with math, this can offer the teacher invaluable insights into their students.
Incidentally, Steve, I can relate to your anecdote about statistics class in college. I didn’t understand a thing the professor said in class. Lucky for me, there was an optional lab that students could attend where grad students did a great job of explaining everything clearly.
I'll confess that I never really liked math until I started to learn how to teach it. Years ago, when I got a job as a high school equivalency teacher, I was required to teach math even though I had never been trained in how to teach it. (I would say this was not the best practice, but I bet I’m not the only adult educator who found themselves in a situation like this.) I actually learned to teach math through using wonderful textbooks such as the Empower Series.
(If anyone would like to learn more about useful math textbooks, here’s a link to a previous thread in the Math & Numeracy Community discussing various math texts, including Empower.)
Integrating math and writing is such a great strategy for so many reasons. This is sure to be a valuable event for teachers!
Cheers, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP
Thank you for including this in your Language Arts group Steve! The Adult Numeracy Network has a newsletter that I contributed an article to about this topic. Here is a link to the article. It includes a few teacher prompts and procedures. Enjoy!