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Question about Calculus

  1. Jan 3, 2005 #1
    I'm in highschool, a senior, and many people in calculus think the class is really hard to grasp and understand (I took it last year). Why is this?
    Maybe because it introduces a new way of looking at math, which they are not used to dealing with.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 4, 2005 #2
    It's hard. And another factor may be that not enough time is spend on it.
  4. Jan 4, 2005 #3
    I think it all really depends on how well your teacher can break up and explain the material. Combine this with how well founded the student is in earlier forms of mathematics. I find that a lot of the time, your everyday student with a difficulty learning calculus don't have as much trouble with the calculus concepts as with the algebra involved.
  5. Jan 4, 2005 #4

    matt grime

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    From my experiences of teaching, it boils down to the fact that students aren't well gounded in simple deductive reasoning, recognising how one applies a theoretical result to an example, trusting their own abilities, and they give up on a question that they cannot see an instant answer to. Learning mathematics at this level is no harder than learing conversational French, but it isn't treated like that. There is in particular an over emphasis on explaining the "why" of a result (why is the area of a circle pi r squared) when actually there is no why it is just a formal result no more complicate than the fact that eau is French for water. The teacher in the french class doesn't spend a lesson telling you the etymology of eau (aqua to eau via some bizarre twists). But in maths students all the time will ask but why is the derivative the slope? why do i do this now? because those are the rules. If a student writes 2^a*2^b=2^{ab} it is because they have forgotten the rule, that is all.
  6. Jan 4, 2005 #5
    Oh, and it doesn't help that people exaggerate the difficulty of calculus to people that haven't even been exposed to it yet. It gives calculus quite an intimidation factor :yuck: .
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