Return to previous location               Back to Deanna Table of Contents                              Next Item -->


From: David Boulton []
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 12:43 AM
Subject: FYI - The right answer  transcript of 1-31-02 part 1

Deanna: I am having trouble with my multiplication Dad.
Dad: What trouble do you mean?
Deanna: My mind doesn't get the right answers.
Dad: what does it mean to get the right answers?
Deanna: when I get the answer the teacher wants.
Dad: OK, how do you get the answer the teacher wants?
Deanna: by remembering the right answer from before.
Dad: Deanna, if someone asks where you live and you say Anahola thats a right answer and it comes from remembering. But when someone asks you to work out a math problem, or many other kinds of problems that require you to think and to participate in creating an answer, then trying to remember an answer from before will only get in the way - its not good for your mind to make it work that way.
Deanna: You mean remembering the answer is not a good way to solve a math problem?
Dad: Sometimes it is helpful to remember parts of answers. Like 2+2=4 without having to count your fingers to get the answer. But when you are working on a bigger problem like 9x8 you shouldn't guess or try to remember what the answer was the last time. Getting the right answer without understanding how you created and worked out the answer is never the right answer - its not good for your mind to learn that way.  Once you are thinking and working the problem you will remember the way to solve problems which will then get you the right answers in the right ways.
Deanna: But thats not what my teachers want. They want me to get the right answer.
Dad: Thats not what I want and its not what I want you to want for yourself. How you participate in what you are doing when you try and solve a problem is what is most important. Working and thinking and solving and creating are what makes for good answers no matter what the teacher says. I think if you tell them: "I want to understand how to be thinking and working on this problem" I bet they will help you more.  Never give an answer to a math or thinking problem that you don't understand. This isn't about them, your teachers or me or mom, this is about you and how you learn - get all of us to help you to better understand the thinking you must do to work out your problems.
Deanna: my teachers don't care about that and it can take too long - then 'time's up' and I get a bad grade.
Dad: For now don't worry about your grade - stay thinking about the problems and your grades will do fine.
Deanna: but I have to get good grades or I will be stuck with Anna* and the little kids and I want to be with Dennis and the older kids.
Dad: I understand and I appreciate that you are trying to make what you want happen - but you can't jump over what you need to do - you need to feel comfortable and confident in growing your learning - YOU DO - its not about them - once you are really ready to be in the other class we will find a way to get you there. I will help you get there but we must keep our minds on how you are learning (not how many right answers you get). If we do that and you start to learn better and better, everything else about school will be easier and more fun. The key to everything is in how you are participating.
Deanna: if 2x2=4, just like 2+2=4, then why doesn't 3x3=6 the way 3+3=6....
(that great question led to an hour of working on multiplication and her having an insight into its difference with adding)
10 minutes later after the above math workout...

* Deanna later developed such a bond with her teacher that she was delighted to stay with her and they evolved a beautiful learning relationship


Return to previous location               Back to Deanna Table of Contents                              Next Item -->

for all children

© 2017 COPYRIGHT All Rights Reserved, Except:

Permission to use, copy, and distribute these materials for not-for-profit educational purposes, without fee and without a signed licensing agreement, is hereby granted, provided that "Implicity" -"  (with a functioning hyperlink when online) be cited as the source and appear in all excerpts, copies, and distributions.  Thank you.