Let’s start with how Not to teach non-violently:

“If you don’t learn math, you won’t get a job!” -This was my reply to a student in one of my high school classes in 2001 who asked “Why do we have to learn this stuff?” Predictably, my reply did not go over well. At the time (15 years ago, Really??) I (think) I felt fed up with the kids lack of motivation, and they felt it. They even told me so. Problem is, that turned into a vicious cycle of me against most of my kids, rather than us cooperating as a community of learners, as I had imagined.

If I had known that my (un-intentional) seeking of validation from my work of teaching, and that essentially blaming my students for their learning difficulties was the source of my difficulty in teaching them, I might have been able to help them more, using Non-Violent Communication techniques, and SuperNanny classroom management, which I didn’t learn about until some years later.

Hope this helps others,

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest (http://beknown.com/ShiraDest )

15 March, 12016 HE

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I have to admit that I hated mathematics as a child. I could never catch on even with help from parents, teachers & tutors. I have a mathematics block. Passed all my other subjects but failed mathematics consistently. The only reason I made it through grades K-12 was the New York State Regents exams. One year someone stole the answers so no Regents exam. I had to repeat algebra and geometry. In college my Chinese co-workers tutored me. Thanks to them I passed all my college mathematics courses. I’m an English major. Much easier than mathematics and in the nearly 40 years I’ve been working I’ve never used any algebra or geometry. I’ve worked in many industries including the military and never been asked to solve X for Y. So for me I wasted the teachers time and mine. I don’t have a mathematical brain.

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Fair enough. 🙂

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Ok (I love the NY state Engage and Common Core Standards websites, btw!!), here is what I wanted to say back awhile ago, but in Shira Fishman’s words, minute 2:20 of this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixJmq2Cl54E -‘you may not see this theorem again, but you will have to think through problems to figure out solutions to unknowns.’ Which is solving for “x” without saying x.

Peace,

ShiraDestinie

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Thanks but I’m glad there was no Common Core back in the 60s/70s. I do consider myself a Problem Solver. I learned to think through problems and find solutions during the four years I spent in the U.S. Army. Even though I did poorly at math in school I received an Honorable Discharge from the Military, I made the Dean’s List and graduated with Honors from Marymount Manhattan College. To quote some of my professors my Research Papers were so good that they became the standard for future students so once again math was not necessary or required for me as an individual to be successful. In fact algebra and geometry was a waste of time for me and for the teachers attempting to shove it into my thick skull. Thankfully since I’ve been an adult nobody has judged me on how well I do math.

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I must not have explained it well enough. 🙂

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Hi ShiraDest,

Yes – honest, compassionate communication is important (in the classroom, as everywhere else). However, I don’t think this should be expected to serve as a mechanism for generating motivation for learning math. In my experience, interest in learning any particular subject is largely innate. The expectation that every student would find interest in every subject taught is just not realistic.

I have written an essay with my ideas on learning and would be interested in any feedback https://probonostats.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/learning-a-childrens-book.pdf.

Thanks,

Yoram

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Hi Yoram, thanks for writing. I’m a bit swamped right now, but you make very reasonable points, and I will make time in the coming weeks to read your article and provide feedback.

Shabat Shalom,

Shira

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Great – thanks! I now notice that I mistakenly linked to the children’s book version of my essay instead of to the original “adult” version as I meant. The original essay is here: https://probonostats.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/about-learning1.pdf.

שבת שלום!

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