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Mon Jun 22, 2015, 12:30 AM

Higher Ed: Conquering Math 'Phobia'

"I was told there would be no math!"

It's a line people sometimes say in mock frustration when faced with a situation involving arithmetic. For some people, the thought of doing addition or subtraction causes their hearts to race and their palms to sweat.

Why is that? Why do so many of us fear numbers? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger confront the concept of math phobia and explore ways to conquer it.

This week, Ed and Jennifer delve into the reasons why some people are math averse and discuss if it's really math, or arithmetic, that people don't like. Whether you love it or can leave it, listen on to hear a celebration of the "nerdiness" of math and to hear Ed issue a heartfelt apology. What for? You'll only know by checking out this episode.

http://kut.org/post/higher-ed-conquering-math-phobia

Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton discuss why we so often hear about "math phobia" but never "history phobia" or "social studies phobia."

http://cpa.ds.npr.org/kut/audio/2015/06/stayton_berger_higher_ed_on_math_phobia_final_mix.mp3 (Soundcloud)

[font color=330099]Full disclosure: I am a mathematics alum from Southwestern University. Dr. Ed Burger is a mathematics professor and produced many YouTube videos on mathematics.[/font]

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Reply Higher Ed: Conquering Math 'Phobia' (Original post)
TexasTowelie Jun 2015 OP
Skittles Jun 2015 #1
pogglethrope Jun 2015 #3
mopinko Jun 2015 #9
eridani Jun 2015 #2
Ed Suspicious Jun 2015 #4
daleanime Jun 2015 #7
SheilaT Jun 2015 #8
delrem Jun 2015 #5
daleanime Jun 2015 #6

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 12:52 AM

1. math is taught in the wrong way

in the early years of education it needs to be shown what math is for, using real life examples......then teach all the trickier stuff

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Response to Skittles (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 01:24 AM

3. What trickier stuff?

 

I majored in mathematics in college and took twenty-one semester credit hours my first year. That included summer school. The most math I took in one semester as an undergraduate was nine hours. Fifty-four credit hours total after three years out of a total of 120 hours.

It was history phobia for me -- the last two undergraduate courses I took were history courses. Took them after starting graduate school.

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Response to Skittles (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 09:17 AM

9. i have a friend who rewrote the book

on teaching math in preschool. basically, it is about teaching numbers in real world ways.
a lot of her research is included in the common core standards.

dr jennifer mccray of the erickson institute.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 01:16 AM

2. Math is different from other subjects

If you blow the Revolutionary War, you can make it up on the Civil War test. If you goof up photosynthesis, you can recover with mammalian anatomy. If you don't fully get the first chapter in any math book, you can forget about understanding any of the rest of it. My husband, who in retirement studies n-dimensional geometry for fun, flunked calculus because on the first day he couldn't figure out with dy/dx why the "d's" didn't cancel out and never managed to catch up.

Math needs to be taught individually, with no moving to chapter 2 until you get chapter 1.

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Response to eridani (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 01:35 AM

4. This. When you fall off the horse in second grade and the horse keeps on running right through

high school, math quickly and unceasingly becomes and remains a nightmare.

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Response to eridani (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 03:08 AM

7. Amen.....

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Response to eridani (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 07:21 AM

8. Important point.

 

Math (as well as foreign languages and some sciences) must be taught sequentially.

I've long advocated for a completely different set-up at the junior high and high school level than the current system of two semesters with almost every course a full year sequence. Change to 6 week segments. Each segment taught as an independent unit. In things like math and foreign languages, you must complete them sequentially. Other things, like history, literature, and social sciences, most of the time the segments can be taken out of order. Some history will be sequential.

The real problem comes if the schools only offer the first algebra segment in the first six weeks of the school year. It must be offered at least twice, so a student who fails the first time doesn't have to postpone completing algebra for a full year.

Once you hit the AP level, which are college level classes anyway, you go back to the traditional full year system.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 02:01 AM

5. Two things about math that I've never reconciled.

One is that math is mechanical, you learn the mechanics from methods of construction plus axioms 1,2,3,.. to theorems 1,2,3,..., and you combine one totally mechanical system with others to get more complex 100% mechanical, in fact mindless systems that robots can follow. So we've got our computers.
The other is that things like numbers like Pi, facts like the incommensurability of diagonals, and math associated with geometry (and physics) in general seem to be hardcoded into the universe.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Mon Jun 22, 2015, 03:06 AM

6. bookmarked

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