Math matters for teachers in rural areas

Teachers and future teachers from our local tri-county region have an outstanding opportunity to learn more about current research in the teaching of mathematics.

Alderson-Broadus University, Randolph County Schools, and Kump Education Center are sponsoring “Math Matters,” a day of Professional Development on Saturday, March 23th at 1863 Bistro in Elkins.

At the “Math Matters” Professional Development Conference Honora Wall, founder of Edu Calc, will present information on a specific learning disorder called dyscalculia. She has helped students from first grade through college discover their own ability to do math.

Ms. Wall has an MA degree in Applied Learning & Instruction from the University of Florida, and she is pursuing an Ed. D in Curriculum & Instruction from Concordia University in Chicago. She has a passion for helping students understand that their potential for learning is far greater than they have realized.

Randolph County math curriculum specialist, Tammy Tucker will present on understanding the “Growth Mindset.” She has an elementary teaching degree with specialization in mathematics instruction and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision.

Recently Ms. Tucker has been researching math mindset and taking courses through Stanford University. She is implementing a grant to enhance local instruction in mathematics in Randolph County.

The idea that math is hard and some people have a mental block against learning math is a prevalent mindset in American culture.

For some reason Asians do not seem to accept the idea that they can’t learn to do math, but many Americans will say they can read and write well, but they just can’t do math. Low scores on the math portion of many standardized tests reinforce the general bias that math is too difficult for many children.

Our progress depends upon our ability to use technology and understand data. A defeatist attitude toward learning math is harmful for our society. Politicians, on both sides of the isle, make it their business to show that whatever was happening in school is not good enough.

For example, after World War II parents of Baby Boomers were bombarded with news articles titled: “Why Little Jonny Can’t Read.” The Reading Research war was on. For the next fifty years educators debated teaching phonics or other methods. Finally, a massive review of research showed that readers need to master 5 elements: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Now researchers are focusing on finding ways to ensure that all students develop reliable math skills.

Parents wonder if kids need to memorize multiplication tables and how calculators impact math skills, but educators are still working to find the best combination of math teaching methods.


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