Students learn better with symbols

By | April 11, 2018

Students always liked maths and working out problems. They tend to get frustrated when can’t get the answers and can’t think about anything else till they do. While some classmates solve high-level maths problems, sometimes even tackling algebra. Acknowledging that there are students of exceptional ability. It is crucial these students receive a well-rounded education where cognitive development is not achieve at the expense of moral, social, physical and aesthetic development. Students ability is uneven across subjects, but schools can place them in a higher level for subjects they excel in. For some students, his/her teachers chose to modify the curriculum of subjects he/she is good at and he/she sent to compete in events against students who are often twice his/her age. Some was the youngest participant in the Asia Pacific Mathematical Olympiad for 11 or 12 year olds. Some students said, the sums were very interesting, much more challenging than their schoolwork. For high-level problems effortlessly, even creating short-cut solutions. 

Some students learned the concepts using generic symbols. Others were taught with examples such as pictures of measuring cups filled with liquid, or sliced of pizza in a container. While all of the students were able to master these concepts easily, the students who first learned maths concept using abstract symbols were better able to transfer that learning to other problems when tested. Maths concepts taught in abstract symbols and various formulae register better than when taught with real-world examples. Teachers said students who were taught abstract maths concepts fared better in experiments than those taught with real-world examples, such as story problems. Adding extraneous details makes it hard for students to extract the basic mathematical concepts and apply them to new problems. That is not to say story problems should disappear. Story problems aren’t out, but they are probably not the way we want to go about introducing concepts or problem solving. They could be the best way to test if a student has mastered a concept. 

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