> As a "reading teacher who teaches math," a term the famous Dr. Bittinger called > me, mathematics vocabulary needs to be taught to all of the students. Many math > textbooks do not have good definitions of math terms. Some math textbooks do not > have definitions of any new math terms. >... >What most developmental mathematics faculty do not realize is that a > course in developmental mathematics, not algebra, has approximately 300 NEW > TERMS introduced. > I remember that when I taught out of the Bittinger/Keedy "Fundamentals of Mathematics" text, I had to start each class with the new definitions of the day since they were not in the book. The Van Dyne et. al. textbook I now use has all the definitions listed, but I'm still in the habit of starting each section with a review of terminology. My non-native English speaking students often point out that my describing the definitions is useful to them, and I suspect my native English speaking students welcome the review as well, even though I only have roughly 100 terms in my course. > > You have identified, in my opinion, why students cannot or have trouble learning > math. This trouble learning math was identified by a person, whose degree is in > Russian history, to write a book on math anxiety. (I asked her what her degree > was in at a presentation she made years ago.) This book is widely quoted today. > I had much anxiety several years ago when I took a computer networking class with > freshman college students. The textbook used had at least five terms on every > page I did not know. The other students must have all been nerds because they > seemed to know the definition of these terms. This caused me to develop computer > networking anxiety. A workshop in computer networking anxiety would not help me > overcome my learning problem in this computer networking class. What I needed > was a prerequisite vocabulary course in computer networking terms or a textbook > that had a definintion of the terms used in the textbook. > This is certainly ONE of the problems students can face, though I'm pretty convinced it's not the only one. Being fairly new at my current position, there have been several occasions where I have been hindered by my coworkers' use of unfamiliar terms or acronyms in conversations and I try to make certain my students don't have the same problem in my classroom. Thanks for pointing out one of those things that should be obvious, but unfortunately, isn't. Prof. Eric Kaljumagi LAC/Math Mt. San Antonio College