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  1. #1
    Junior Member Janus Shadowsong's Avatar
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    Question Teaching Math to my SP step-daughter

    Hello everyone.

    I could use some advice on the best way to teach math to an SP 12 year old girl. She is into drawing, music, anime, and language arts, but I can't seem to get any of her math lessons to "stick". She likes social studies and reading, but disdains schooling in general and math in particular.

    I can't convince her that she needs to learn math, if only for the fact that she needs a diploma and a good general education (other things I haven't convinced her that she needs) in order to excel in whatever future career she chooses.

    I'm not sure I can ever convince her to like math, but how do I teach her well enough for her to pass her classes? Math is all about learning formulas and rules, neither of which appeal to her at all. Math also builds on what has been learned earlier, and she never seems able to retain her lessons, so homework this week is stymied because she has forgotten how to solve the problems I helped her with last week. Currently she is failing math, and the last thing I want is for her to have to repeat a class or a grade as that would be a serious blow to her already low self-esteem.

    Any advice would be welcome.

  2. #2
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    This might be an all too obvious solution but have you tried to make it apply more to real life? I find most people that hate maths do so because they see no application for it. You could try to change her homework problems into a real situation where it could be used. Even draw a picture because if she's a visual learner this may help. One good real world example and an image of what it looked like may be enough to have the whole process stick in her head.

    Also you could try using simple rhymes or sayings (the equivalent to "i before e except after c") to help her remember rules. I have a terrible memory and this works for me. If you can't think them up yourself, there may be some on the internet.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

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    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  3. #3
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    story problems... it's the only way to go with math... I've never seen any reason to do a math problem if I can't see a practical reason to do it. And this is coming from someone who specialized in stats TWICE
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  4. #4
    Junior Member roninpro's Avatar
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    I think that a lot of students have this experience. From somebody who does mathematics for a living, the statement

    Math is all about learning formulas and rules
    is a fundamental mis-characterization of the field, and I think that students have the right to be bored when this is the premise of the class. I won't rant about the failings of public math education, but I will refer you to a paper (by a mathematician) that has been going around in the past few years: http://www.maa.org/devlin/LockhartsLament.pdf.

    I don't know if this is an option or not, but you might want to contact some mathematicians in the area to seek advice. (There are often professors who coordinate undergraduate education in a math department - they would a great resource.)

  5. #5
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whatever View Post
    story problems... it's the only way to go with math... I've never seen any reason to do a math problem if I can't see a practical reason to do it. And this is coming from someone who specialized in stats TWICE
    Story problems will help her get the actual concepts and problem-solving too... win-win!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6

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    Is her disinterest the greater hurdle, or her aptitude?

  7. #7
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is her disinterest the greater hurdle, or her aptitude?
    If she doesn't have a learning disability, then she should be capable of reaching at least an average competence level in maths. And since the OP indicated that she does fine in other subjects, it doesn't seem like she would have an LD. Unless it's something like dyscalculia?
    Artes, Scientia, Veritasiness

  8. #8
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    This might be an all too obvious solution but have you tried to make it apply more to real life? I find most people that hate maths do so because they see no application for it. You could try to change her homework problems into a real situation where it could be used. Even draw a picture because if she's a visual learner this may help. One good real world example and an image of what it looked like may be enough to have the whole process stick in her head.

    Also you could try using simple rhymes or sayings (the equivalent to "i before e except after c") to help her remember rules. I have a terrible memory and this works for me. If you can't think them up yourself, there may be some on the internet.
    First of all, the girl sounds like an ISFP.

    Second, I think the above is great advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is her disinterest the greater hurdle, or her aptitude?
    Well, there can't be much aptitude if there's a great disinterest. If someone could show the girl from some romantic and passionate point of view, why math is important and interesting in a way that she can easily grasp, she could possibly excel greatly. I've heard people say they see math and numbers everywhere... I'd personally like to know what they mean by that, because I certainly don't. I'd like to understand the mathematicians point of view on love for numbers and what exactly it is that they see.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
    -John Green

  9. #9
    Junior Member roninpro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyAnnaJoan View Post
    Well, there can't be much aptitude if there's a great disinterest. If someone could show the girl from some romantic and passionate point of view, why math is important and interesting in a way that she can easily grasp, she could possibly excel greatly. I've heard people say they see math and numbers everywhere... I'd personally like to know what they mean by that, because I certainly don't. I'd like to understand the mathematicians point of view on love for numbers and what exactly it is that they see.
    Actually, we really hate numbers (in calculation). There is a saying: never trust a mathematician to do your arithmetic.

    Mathematics is really the study of the properties of (mathematical) systems. Mathematicians look for structure and regularity in any given system and try to prove their observations. One example might come from geometry / topology: in recent times, people have tried to understand the structure of closed and orientable two-dimensional surfaces. The result is that any such surface is "equivalent" to a sphere or a doughnut with some number of holes in it. (You can find some literature with pictures here: http://www.cs.duke.edu/courses/fall0...s/sec-II-1.pdf, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface...losed_surfaces.) Lockhart, found in the link in my previous post, gives some simpler examples and explains the fascination with better enthusiasm.

  10. #10

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    Try tying it to design, or something like that. Math is everywhere.

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