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Dr. phil

  1. Oct 10, 2006 #1
    I like your signature, Astronuc. You would be surprised how many people drop out of math because they lose sight of the "why" to math, it's difficult not to.
    Did anybody record this Dr. Phil episode? The IQ answer

    In it, a young woman's mother mentioned that she was doing very well in math and her teacher did not understand what was wrong. The young lady said that she was just memorizing theorems but had no idea WHAT she was doing!
    Dr. Phil's reply was something along the lines of 'maybe you just aren't cut out for math, your gift may be in something else'.
    :grumpy: Great advice, Dr. Phil.

    My question is this: do teachers really know what's happening with numbers beyond arithmetic or have they just 'memorized theorems' to get through college and get a teaching degree?
     
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  3. Oct 10, 2006 #2

    Doc Al

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    Note: I moved this from the tutorial section to GD, where it may get more attention. (The tutorial section for posting tutorials, not for discussion.)
     
  4. Oct 10, 2006 #3

    chroot

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    Some teachers are brilliant, while others are more akin to parrots. I don't think it would be fair to make a sweeping generalizations about all teachers, do you?

    Furhermore, does this thread really have a point?

    - Warren
     
  5. Oct 10, 2006 #4

    JasonRox

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    It's not fair to make generalizations, but being part of classes who have prospective teachers, I would have to say not very many of them know what's going. In fact, I haven't met one yet.

    I'd say they don't know anything. If you don't want to generalize, let's just say that maybe 1 in 1000 know what they are doing.

    Sometimes it's not what you know that makes great teachers. A teacher who cares about the individual successes of the students and who will help them explore areas they enjoy is a great teacher.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  6. Oct 10, 2006 #5

    JasonRox

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    It's funny because I never heard anyone asking the arts teacher...

    ...why are we drawing pictures? We throw them in the garbage after class anyways.

    ...why are we playing instruments? It sounds horrible.

    ...why are we acting out a play? Nobody is watching.

    And the list goes on for all kinds of subjects.

    Ignorance gets you nowhere.
     
  7. Oct 10, 2006 #6

    Chi Meson

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    I've met some brilliant parrots too.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2006 #7

    Er, I wasn't referring to 'why we need math'. As I had mentioned with the young girl telling Dr. Phil that she didn't want to continue with math because she didn't understand it beyond the rote memorization of formulas, people need an intuitive understanding of the learning of math as opposed to an ignorance of its construction.
     
  9. Oct 10, 2006 #8
    One in one thousand? My worst nightmare has been realized.
    Yes, bravo for teachers who can teach the material in whatever way, creative or otherwise, that they can. Teachers who really care about the student's future should receive medals.
    Out of over 60+ teachers from 1st-12th (I moved a lot), I can think of only two who knew how to communicate well and they were the only classes I ever made A's in.
     
  10. Oct 10, 2006 #9
    I didn't really say 'all' teachers, I just said 'teachers'. If that means 'all teachers', well, grammar was not my strong suit. Otherwise, it's an assumption of my intentions.
    Noting from what the young lady said and from my own experience, it seems to be a common occurence that many teachers do not have an intuitive understanding of what they teach.
    Note I'm not referring to college professors here, necessarily (many I have met seem to be brilliant personally as well as being fully competent in imparting knowledge to students)

    A good point would be: what's being done to change this in the educational system?
     
  11. Oct 10, 2006 #10
    In order to teach in college you must have a PHD. For high school, you dont even have to major or minor in the subject you teach. Plus anyone worth a damn isint going to waste their time teaching to get min. wage, when they can make double the amount doing real work.

    Those who can do, those who can't teach.
     
  12. Oct 10, 2006 #11

    chroot

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    Your comments are indicative of a sweeping selection bias shared by, well, almost everyone: the only good teachers are the ones who gave me A's.

    That's more than a little short-sighted, in my opinion. Education is difficult for the teacher, but, frankly, it must be even more difficult for the student.

    - Warren
     
  13. Oct 11, 2006 #12
    Now I wanna know if I was just recited too. o_o

    I think not though, my math teacher is very good.

    ~Gelsamel
     
  14. Oct 11, 2006 #13

    Moonbear

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    There are a lot of students who get through high school by memorizing and regurgitating without processing and understanding, not just in math. These are the students who have the toughest time adjusting to college courses, because they haven't learned to learn in high school and think they'll coast through college the same way they coasted through high school. These are the students who wind up in the instructors' offices after the first exam wondering how they only got a C or D when they've gotten As all their life.

    However, a lot of what is taught at the high school level DOES require simple, rote memorization. Until you have some basics in your head, you really can't fully understand the concepts involved. A good teacher will remind the students from time to time that they are asking them to memorize something now because they have not yet been taught enough to understand the reasoning behind it, but will get to that in later courses, so they don't lose sight that there's more to it than just memorization.

    One needs to realize that learning is not a linear process. You have to do a lot of doubling back and revisiting of material. High school and introductory college courses are essentially intended as an overview of an entire discipline. It's just skimming the surface to give you the big picture, and then as you get into higher level courses, you'll be able to keep the details in perspective.

    It's a shame that the young lady in question has been done a disservice by discouraging her from a subject when she has realized on her own that there's more to learning than memorizing, and has developed a thirst for that higher level of learning.

    As for the question of whether teachers themselves know the subject beyond the level of memorization, when you get into high school subject specialties, unless someone is being asked to teach a class that is not their specialization (i.e., the teacher certified to teach high school English being dumped into an algebra class because the school can't get a more qualified teacher), they usually choose their subject because of what interests them.

    As with any profession, you will find a range of qualifications among teachers. For every outstanding teacher, there is also one who scraped by and barely met the requirements for certification.

    There's a saying:
    "A good teacher explains.
    A superior teacher demonstrates.
    A great teacher inspires."

    Unfortunately for the young lady discussed in the OP, her teacher has missed an opportunity to inspire her, as has Dr. Phil, but we already know he's a hack. When a student expresses frustration with memorizing subject material without being enlightened to a higher understanding, that is the time to suggest either a tutorial to delve deeper into some of the concepts, or to do an extra credit assignment that is more challenging and requires linking concepts, or even just to sit down and explain that she's going to need to have these theorems memorized in order to tackle the conceptual part of the subject that is taught at the college level, and to just hang onto that enthusiasm for college.
     
  15. Oct 11, 2006 #14

    Chi Meson

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    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!:grumpy:

    CY! I tusted you! I tusted yooooooooou!

    Anyway, it's not minimum wage and we get 13 weeks off every year. I could get more money but less time off if I worked for a local acoustical engineering unit that's nearby. I chose more time.
     
  16. Oct 11, 2006 #15
    So is Dr Phil considered to be a fake media psychologist ? Do intelligent people take him seriously ?

    We have his shows on TV here but we donnot take that stuff very seriously. The entire concept of that show appears quite strange to me and many others.

    marlon
     
  17. Oct 11, 2006 #16

    chroot

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    I don't think anyone with any sense considers Dr. Phil (or any other TV personality) to be anything more substantive than brain-dead entertainment.

    - Warren
     
  18. Oct 11, 2006 #17

    JasonRox

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    I like that one. :biggrin:
     
  19. Oct 11, 2006 #18

    JasonRox

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    I think this is because in North America we take everything for granted.
     
  20. Oct 11, 2006 #19

    :rofl: I knew when I typed that I was going to get it on the head from you. :rofl:

    I would put you with the small minority of teachers that actually give a damn about what they teach. I had one teacher like that in freshman year. He was my american history teacher. He was in Vietnam and had some of his fingers blown off and told us about how he got hit with a mortar round. And he taught at the Naval Academy, wrote books, and did work at the Arlington Cemetery. He was a really cool guy and we all respected him. Then he died from a heart attack the next year...too bad, we all loved him.


    As for the rest of the teachers, they couldnt find their own ass if they tried. Complete and total idiots, I mean where do they find some of these people????

    I have met a good handful of africans that came to this country for school while at college (were talking 3rd world countries here). They all tell me about their high school and how they learned calc1, calc2, some of calc3, linear algebra, french, english.

    The US school system for K-12 is a joke. I would NEVER put my kid in any lousy public school. It's going to be private school for k-8, and then either private school or community college in place of high school. NO WAY are they going to a public high school.

    God, I could go on and on and on about how I hate public schools.....

    And those lunches! People in prison get better food, seriously......
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2006
  21. Oct 11, 2006 #20
    I had no idea.
    We really can't blame people for wanting to take higher paying jobs, teaching sounds like a major sacrifice.
    One thing that occured to me is that teachers are the products of this flawed system which is a possible other cause.
     
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