Failing in math? Part II
In the previous article, I introduced a 10-point Math Scare Index evaluation table. If the result of one’s self-examination is between 43 and 50, he/she must find a professional consultant as soon as possible. There are many possible reasons why some children are scared of math: hurt by improper discipline such as prejudice or discrimination, hurt by bad communication model in the family, hurt or bullied by the peers. Any kind of unfortunate situation encountered may lead to failing a course and in more serious cases, fear.
When young children show abnormal behaviour, it is safe to say that professional consultation is required. One can use the Clancy Behaviour Scale or ADHD test to assess their children for early detection. (http://childparenting.about.com/cs/behaviorproblems/a/childproblem_2.htm)
Sometimes, however it could simply be a false alarm. I encountered a couple cases in the past. I spoke to a couple of parents that told me that their two children, aged seven and nine, had learning disorders and needed professional consultants. After teaching them math for a few years, I was able to better understand the situation. They showed major progress, maintaining above average marks and having usual interactive response with others. I even a normal relationship between the children and their parents. I came to the conclusion that immigrant kids are very easily mistaken to have learning disorders by the school due to cultural and language barriers in the classroom. These kids simply need more love and attention.
The family life is crucial as well: constant quarrelling in the household between parents may lead to emotional instability in children. This, in turn, may stall their learning progress. Parents have obligations to offer a loving and disciplined environment at home such that their kids are ready to learn. When kids are ready to learn but don’t learn well, it is highly probable that the downfall may be due to the teaching quality of the teachers.
I was touched by a university professor when he apologized to the students that failed in his class. 40% of the students in the class had previously failed on a midterm exam. He apologized to them and said that his explanations and teaching skills were not good enough. Kids are like blank sheets of paper waiting on the quality inputs and motivation from the teachers. Often, I tell parents, in front of their kids, that if the marks in school do not improve, we are the ones to blame. The only condition is if they fully cooperate with us.
Across Canada, one in ten students study in a private school, but in Quebec the ratio jumps to 2.9:10, which is almost tripled the average. This large difference shows that parents really trust private school teachers much more than public school ones. I have shown appreciation and acknowledgement to many good teachers when some students showed us some quality class lectures and homework. Unfortunately, there are always those teachers that can’t answer or are unable to answer more difficult questions. Either they tell the students that they will get back to them at a later date and then totally forget about it or they tell the students that they should be able to solve the questions since they are so easy, thus disguising his/her incapability.
Every kid needs and deserves to be enlightened by parents, teachers, a good quotation, a movie or a book. The very famous inventor Thomas Edison is a very good example. In school, the young Edison's mind often wandered and his teacher, the Reverend Engle, was overheard calling him ‘addled’. This ended Edison's three months of official schooling. Edison recalled later, "My mother was the making of me.” Anyone who has the key to turn their motivation on has already taken their first step towards success.
There are also tools provided by Environmental Test System to assess learning motivation or Personal Curriculum System to diagnose needs of students through analysis of students from computer mass information.
What makes a student afraid of math? and why?
How can you resolve these problems?