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Artistic Creativity and Dyscalculia
#1 Print Post
Posted on May 09 2012 05:50 PM

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I was discussing Pre-Algebra with my 15 y/o daughter last night - and we were talking about how Dyscalculia works. I have realized some things about myself and my fellow sufferers. Many of us may be miserable at Math - but we are highly gifted in other area.

I have always noticed that, for me, words have a special meaning. My daughter feels the same way. She used the word, "bubbly", it means something to her and she says it like it feels. Words have a taste, a feel, texture and meaning beyond a dictionary definition.

She writes amazing poetry. She takes photographs that are stunning in their grasp of light, shadow and point of view. Music speaks to her although she can't read a note. (She is definately her Mother's child!)

I drew a picture of the brain for her and showed her the areas and their functions. It helped her to better understand why she is the way she is. Yes, the "math" people of the world come up with medications, technology and serve the human race with their advances. However, those of us who are creative - we "make" the things that make life worth living! We are the writers, the actors, the photographers, the artists that give value to humans most basic emotions - love, joy, sadness, pain.

I know that Dyscalculia is a "disability" but I hate referring to it that way. We "learn" differently - but we can learn. Our weakness makes us strong in other areas. Those areas are essential to the human experience.

After all - William Shakespeare asked the question - "to be or not to be" and 400 years later it still moves us. I wonder if we would have known his name if he wrote: "f(x)=2x + -4."

Just a happy thought for the day!

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Posted on May 09 2012 09:33 PM

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This reminds me of a conversation that I had with my math teacher today. He and I both agree that high schools seem to assume that every student will be atting a traditional 4 year university after they graduate. It doesn't take into account those who will be going into the workforce right away or those who are taking more creative paths such as music or art or performing art schools. Therefore all students are put on the exact same credit plan and are made to take all the same classes reguardless of carreer path. The schools simply assume that we will all go to college to become doctors and lawyers and engineers. I know my high school has a very high number of students who go off to attend college (98%), but not everyone will and it forces some students to feel like they have to go to college. I understand the school's logic in doing this. A college degree can earn a person much more money, and not every student knows what they want to do and they want everyone to be prepared for anything they choose to do. But it may be hurting some students more than its helping them. I mean, does a ballerina really need to know calculas? I think not.
Sorry this was a little off topic Barbaradee, but your post just got me thinking.
Edited by dandy22 on May 09 2012 09:35 PM
Equations are the devil's sentences. -Stephen Colbert
#3 Print Post
Posted on May 09 2012 10:23 PM

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I hadn't known until I became a part of this international forum that not all countries follow the same 'model' that we have in the United States. Some countries don't make all of their college students pass more math, for example. The 'artists' are allowed to go into more depth with what they will need for their careers without having to attain a higher level of math than they needed to graduate from High School. This was an eye-opener for me. - jus'
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Posted on May 10 2012 11:55 AM

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Dandy -

I don't believe that you are off-topic at all. In fact, I completely agree with you!

I think that America needs to reevaluate our education system. I believe that formal "high school" style education should end after 10th grade. From their, students should be given the opportunity to either prepare for college or prepare for a trade. Doctors, lawyers, engineers - they are all necessary professions. Welders, vehicle repair, hairdressers, truck drivers - these are also incredibly necessary professions! I know plenty of intelligent, successful, happy people who never went to a four year college and they earn a good living.

Learning should be life long. It should never come to an end on graduation day. Schools focus on reading, math and science - and if you aren't good at all of those - you aren't worth educating and have no future. History, Art, Music, Literature, Public Speaking, Behavioral Sciences, Civics, Geography - these are all but ignored.

We are only giving our children half of an education. Yet, America spends more money on education than almost any other country in the world. It is never off-topic to talk about real education!

#5 Print Post
Posted on May 11 2012 12:45 AM

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In fact, many High Schools are now allowing students to take College courses. When I was finishing my Paralegal degree at a two-year community college, I heard that the same courses I'd just finished taking were already being taken by smart High School kids. At the time I thought, "Oh, this is just what I needed,... to be interviewing for a job right beside a bunch of 18 year olds.' But, yes, for the kids, it's a great thing. - jus'
#6 Print Post
Posted on May 11 2012 02:25 PM
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I definitely agree, the American educational system needing to reevaluate the way it fast tracks students towards a college career. Like Jus, I also did not realize that the education system in other countries worked differently than ours. In some countries, students with demonstrable skill and interest in things other than academics can go into programs to prepare them for jobs in those kinds of fields (like design, performing arts, vo-tech careers, etc.)

To me that just makes good sense. As much as we might want all kids to go to college and attain a university degree, it's just not going to happen. Some people simply aren't cut out for academics - they don't like it, it's hard for them, the traditional system doesn't work with the way they learn, or maybe they just simply aren't interested in a college degree. Whatever the reason, it's not for them.

I think it would be valuable if our public schools would recognize this and offer more programs for students who have shown that their aptitudes are in areas other than academics such as the performing arts, vo-tech careers, agriculture, design, etc. Some schools do offer those programs, but from what I've seen they appear to be the exception rather than the norm, and it depends on what part of the country you're in.

However, I DO believe that all schools, not just private or wealthy schools, should be "college preparatory" in their general educational aims. I went to what was considered a college prep high school, their goal was that we would ALL be college-bound, or at least competitive for college applications, even if we chose not to go the traditional 4-year university route straight out of high school.

But we weren't all college-bound students (although the majority - nearly 90% - did end up going into college straight out of high school). They just wanted us to all have an exemplary high school education so that our options would be open for us. That way if we DID want to go to college, we'd be competitive applicants. And if we didn't, then at least we got a rock solid high school education out of it.
"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer
#7 Print Post
Posted on May 13 2012 12:39 AM

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Not wanting to de-rail all the good points you've raised, Kat, but I want to throw in here, while I'm thinking of it, that even though there are (as you mentioned) 'some schools' that 'do offer those [other] programs', those other programs and schools are often not well enough monitored so that the students can count on uniform results. Here in the DFW area of Texas, we've had trouble with programs that supposedly teach (for example) how to be an air conditioning tech. The school blanketed TV air time with smiling faces of proud families,... the mother saying how proud she is of Gilberto (names have been changed to protect the guilty). But a little later, after the graduates kept filing complaints, the school lost (or was on the verge of loosing) it's accreditation. Almost no one was finding a job 'in their field'. And sometimes something like (forgive my forgetfulness) getting a job as a janitor at an air conditioning repair place was being counted by the school as having placed a student working 'in their field'. This might never have come out were it not for the fact that the government agencies (such as the one that paid for my LD testing) were getting billed for the 'education' at these schools. The students might not have paid directly for the 'education', but those schools were sapping dry the grant money that the same student would later need for better training. Just thought that I'd throw this in here. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on May 13 2012 12:41 AM
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