Math teachers attend one-day workshop
June 18, 2004
Math teachers attend one-day workshop

Mathematics teachers across the state attempted this week to bridge the gap between O’Level and A’Level mathematics.
The idea to stage the one-day workshop, held on Monday, came from Community College mathematics lecturers Wayne Young and Dawn Scott, who saw the need to create a partnership between secondary school teachers and themselves. Approximately 20 teachers took part in the workshop. {{more}}
Young told SEARCHLIGHT that Scott and he, assessing the weaknesses of students who come to the College each year, have identified a big gap between the O- and A-Levels, especially in the area of algebra.
“Our hope really is to share our ideas… Students come out here, their algebra is pretty weak. So in discussions with the teachers we want to look at these problems that the students have in algebra and see how we could address the situation by creating a partnership to share our ideas.”
The workshop, the first of its kind to be staged here, dealt with topics such as the teaching of self-techniques to students and common misconceptions in algebra. It also dealt with ways of evaluating mathematics in the classroom to create ranges for discussion among students.
Young said he and Scott strongly believe that assessment of the students should not only be done by them, but also by the students since more can be achieved if the students assess themselves. In the area of algebra, the teacher disclosed that students sometimes take the wrong approach and encounter problems understanding its symbolism.
“Psychologically people are accustomed to natural language and they tend to want to take over their concept that they already have from natural language in mathematics. And this creates what we call accountative obstacles, accountative conflicts,” said Young, expressing the desire that the workshop should help to alleviate some of the problems.
It is anticipated that the workshop will develop into an annual event.
At the end of the workshop there were plans to compile a booklet dealing with algebra and its misconceptions.
Young said it is hoped that students having this booklet in their possession can become more aware of the likely pitfalls and will be able to handle themselves better.