My name is Stan. I'm a college graduate with NLD and dyscalculia.
I'm curently taking a education class on student motivation and engagement.
For my final project, I am looking at how to motivate students with dyscalculia in a required math class.
Is there anything that a good math teacher has done to motivate you despite dyscalculia? Is there any math trick or activity that you were motivated to succede at? Is there anything that you would like to share with future teachers about dyscalculia?
I would appreciate any and all help in this project. This will be presented to a class of student and full time teachers, and can make a real diffrence in the lives of students with dyscalculia.
Please post your responses in this thread. I will keep all personal information in confidence, and your on-line identies will be altered in the presentation.
The thing that has motivated me most is a teacher's willingness to be flexible to suit my needs, rather than requiring me to rigidly fit into his standards. The experience that I had in particular, my professor extended all the due dates for my homework. We had a big assignment due every Tuesday and I could never, ever get them done on time and still have any time to prepare for the exam-- and my teacher understood that and rather than assuming I just wasn't doing the work he was willing to let me work on my own timeframe so I had the OPPORTUNITY to be successful in the class. So often students with LDs feel like they don't have that opportunity, and when that professor created an environment for me that I stood a chance of being successful in, even if it wasn't exactly how he wanted things done, it made me motivated to succeed because I felt like the opportunity was in front of me. It wasn't necessarily just the due date extensions, it was the fact that I could tell he was willing to listen to my plight and try to help me find a way to make it work so I could be successful.
when I was in college after just being diagnosed I was a class specifically for student with math LD - the two of us. The teacher was forever reason trying to explain 1/4 and .25 cents and used either money or paper cut-outs or something as concrete example of what was the 1/4 and I "got" it! I've always had difficulty with money too so I was soooo amazed that 1/4 = .25. I NEVER understood that before. While I can't exactly tell you what specific trick or activity she may have used, I just remember the feeling of - "wow"- I actually UNDERSTAND something in math class!" And I know that regardless of formal lesson or not, the biggest key for me in relation to the LD is purely PATIENCE. I have issues with many math-related things and also auditory proccessing and spatial orientation problems , so patience is sooooo significant, patience to try and re-explain and re-show something again and maybe different ways. Patience to slow down directions and face me when when working with me. Patience to find something I may have done "right ' either I managed to figure some aspect of what we were working on, or just that I kept going, but find somewhere that I am successful.
Location: Island of Misfit Toys Posts: 620 Joined: 2007-10-25
I had a teacher sitting on her desk after class while wearing a short skirt once.....I know that doesn't help you any but trust me, it helped a 16 year old Blamo
Seriously however, I was removed from my class once a day to work with special ed teachers and various experts. A couple of them simply helpped point out my strengths. Encouraged me instead of pointing out my faults.
Encouraged me to draw instead of telling me it was a waste of time (like my parents did )
"I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused..."
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6102 Joined: 2008-05-25
Okay. Due to your persistence, I'll actually share with you the only thing that ever motivated me in math. This was a developmental math class dealing only with arithmetic and geometry -- not algebra. I can't do algebra. But in that developmental math class that only contained arithmetic, I had a teacher who was a 'word person', rather than a 'math person'. She told me that, when she had decided to go ahead and get the credentials to be a math teacher. she did this because she knew that, even though she's a 'word person', she could do it,... she could become a math teacher, and that she knew that there would always be a job for her if she became a math teacher.
She would teach the class as is normally done, explaining and writing at the blackboard, but would keep this part short and leave most of the classtime for us to work on the math in silence at our desks. She would let us come up to her desk for help. Somehow, the room was usually quiet enough for me to concentrate on what I was studying at my desk, and I knew that I'd be able to get a question answered by the teacher before I could forget what my question was.
She was a patient listener when I'd have a question. She didn't start explaining things that I wasn't asking about. And even if my question wasn't perfectly 'formulated', she wouldn't just pull that 'donkey stubborn' attitude that some teachers and tutors assume when the student doesn't even have enough knowledge to ask a well-formed question. In other words, she would think about what I'd asked and figure out what pieces of information were actually 'missing' in my question, in order for my question to make sense. Then she would either give me some small pieces of information or clarification. After that, she would answer my question. But sometimes, by the time she would assist me in 'filling in the blanks' in my question, I would already have the answer to my question! I've seen on this forum many times where dyscalculic members talk about being 'clueless'. I know that we don't all have the same problems, but to me "clueless' means that I am so uninformed that I can't even formulate a decent question.
This teacher who was helpful to me also had the good sense and emotional maturity to let me take credit for it when I had 'understood' whatever questions I'd been grappling with. When I would say, "Oh, so then... 'blah, blah, blah',... she had the kindness to nod 'yes' and acknowledge that that was right,... that the issue functions as I was now describing it. In this way, she gave 'reinforcement' that I had understood the concept. She let me reiterate that concept. I wanted to reiterate the concept myself, as this not only helps me remember it, but also gives me a feeling of 'resolution' from the anxiety of trying to understand something that had been confusing. And she would only have 'corrected' me during that process if there were really something 'wrong' with what I was saying. She wasn't overly critical or 'picky'. Most math teachers tend to quickly 'correct' the student and then move on to something else without giving any confirmation or reassurance that the studen has now 'understood'. Sometimes, this can leave me feeling 'put down', especially when I'd had almost everything 'right' except for some small 'technical error' in my wording. Most math teachers are too quick to say, "No. You're saying thus and so. That's wrong." If what I'm saying is 95% correct, then it's nice for the teacher (listener) to say, "Yes, that's right, except that it's not called a.... blah, blah, blah." I think that because this teacher was a 'word person' rather than a 'math person', she was a better teacher for me. In short, I think that most math teachers have never learned to deal with their students tactfully. They seem to park their 'good manners' with their car when they arrive at school to teach. For dyscalculics, math evokes an 'emotional response' due to the effort we have to invest to understand it. We need more respect shown for our questions, not less. I had the privilege of being taught by this very nice, supportive lady that I've told you about for two semesters, and I got an 'A' both semesters. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on July 22 2009 12:09 PM
My maths teachers and I, NEVER, EVER got along, For one i had the same Maths teacher for 5 years, and i think we were both tired after the first year. He paid little attention to me after he realised i simply could not retain concepts.
Infact i remember sometime in year 8 he would make me stand up and recite time tables. I was comfortable with the tables up to 5. After that it just got muddled. Than in the the middle of the class he would single me out and ask randomly - "Ali, whats 6 times 8, and i would literrally rack my brains - at first i didnt know that the terms "times" and "by" when spoken meant the same as multiply.I spent the first few minutes trying to figure out what he meant by "times". At which point i was usually given a break detention, which i gladly spent reading in the library!
Location: Texas USA Posts: 6102 Joined: 2008-05-25
The class I just described was my first year in college. That was the only time this nice thing happened to me. The rest of my stories of math classes are mostly bleak. However, there was one wonderful lady, only a couple of years ago,... a grandmother,... who was a math person but was very compassionate. It seems that she'd tried her best to learn Spanish, and couldn't. She had the intelligence to realize that I was having the same problem with math that she had had with Spanish. Where there is mutual respect, disabilities cease to cause deep emotional pain and scarring. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on July 26 2009 01:21 AM