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What a nice story.  Thank you for sharing.

Jelaine


>From: Julie Jackson-Coe <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
><[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Joe Vs. Algebra
>Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 13:07:26 -0500
>
>I don't have any other specific strategies to offer to this
>particular dilemma, but I do have a personal experience which may
>help you, or Joe.
>
>I am currently at Niagara University, but for 10 years before coming
>here, I worked as a Learning Specialist at a community college.  I
>saw my position as one working with students with disabilities,
>primarily learning disabilities, offering them strategies that would
>work with their strengths to get them through "the basics" -- the
>required writing, reading, and math courses.  All students had to
>pass the algebra (non-credit) in order to get their Associate's
>degree.  Many curriculums required more math.  My guess is that well
>over 50% of my time was spent working with math reluctant and math
>anxious students.   There was one woman in particular who was a human
>service major, and a non-traditional student (she had grandchildren)
>who also had newly been diagnosed as having a learning disability.
>She was one of those who would attempt the algebra course, get into
>graphing and solving equations, and would withdraw from the course
>out of frustration.  This happened four times.  Finally, it was "do
>or die" time -- she was in her last semester, and needed to pass the
>course.  We wouldn't even consider a waiver in the algebra since we
>felt that she had never put forth an honest attempt, (working with
>me, getting tutoring, sticking out the course)  but also because it
>truly was not warranted by the documentation which we had on her.
>
>Anyway, she signed up for a course for which I did study groups
>before and after the class, and during one of the study groups (right
>around the time we had started graphing) she told me she didn't feel
>well -- then she fainted!  I got her up and sitting in a chair, sent
>another student for the nurse, and she was literally wheeled out of
>the classroom.  ("OH OH -- here we go again" is what I must admit to
>thinking about her).  Turns out that she had a brain tumor (benign,
>thank goodness) and had to have surgery to have it removed!  This
>was her fifth time now not finishing the math, and she now had pretty
>good medical documentation -- but we still did not waive the course.
>She came back the next semester, worked with me, worked with tutors,
>and this time completed the course, but did not pass it.   At this
>point, I did start to discuss a math waiver with her, but SHE
>declined it -- she said that if this was part of getting a college
>degree, she had to do it!   The SEVENTH time she attempted the
>algebra course, I am very happy to say, she passed it!   She
>graduated with a "real" degree (as she liked to call it!).
>
>  There's more to this story, however!  About a year later, she called
>me to tell me that she had applied for an LPN program offered through
>a local BOCES.  It was a nine-month training program, and there were
>placement tests you had to take to get in to the program.  She had
>scored THE HIGHEST score on the math section of all the people that
>had taken the test that day.  She was just beaming with pride when
>she told me that.
>
>I don't know if this will help Joe to persevere.  It was a learning
>experience for me and for all that were involved in this situation.
>A lot had to do with the support we offered and she was willing to
>take advantage of, but a lot had to do with the attitude.  As soon as
>she stopped looking at the math as a barrier to her degree, but
>rather as an important part of  having a college education, she was
>able to find a way through it.
>
>Good luck.
>Julie Jackson-Coe
>Academic Skills Specialist
>Niagara University, NY 14109
>Ph. 716-286-8077
>Fax 716-286-8063
>[log in to unmask]

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