Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vanquishing Math Phobia

Vanquishing Math Phobia

Sue Shellenbarger, in a Wall Street Journal article titled A Worksheet for Math-Phobic Parents (August 29, 2012), talks about how most parents, being math-phobic, are transmitting that attitude to their kids, thus perpetuating math phobia and incompetence.

I too was math-phobic until I learned about the Barriers to Learning.  It turns out that my math teachers had been committing/inflicting several of these Barriers on me.

The Barriers that my teachers inflicted on me were:
  • Too steep a gradient of information
  • Using non-defined words and symbols,
  • Why this subject was important to learn, and
  • How was the knowledge relevant to my life.

When I applied the proper remedies listed in the book How to Learn – How to Teach: Overcoming the Barriers to Learning, I vanquished my math phobia, and recovered my math education.

I vanquished my math phobia to such an extent that I now tutor in math for Literacy Partners.  And I did such a good job communicating math concepts to my students that they created a math class just for me called Applied Math.

Math is not scary once you remedy your Barriers to Learning.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Socratic Parenting

Imagine a parenting technique that doesn’t tell you what to do, but teaches the art of self-discovery that can be implemented with your child for their benefit.
What would happen if you used “open inquiry” questions (open ended questions) to help your child discover and learn, rather than tell and indoctrinate?  Would it lead to greater self-discovery and appreciation of the truth?

Socrates educed from his students so they could discover the truth for themselves.  He stated that: A mind is a flame to be ignited, not a vessel to be filled.  Only the practice of “open inquiry” opens the mind for ignition.

Many wise educators have deplored the current educational system’s practice of treating children as sponges to be filled up and squeezed out on a test.  It is an unwise parenting practice as well.  There’s nothing more useless than a mind filled with other’s thoughts.