Mathematicsis proving to be a challenge for many American students inelementary, middle, and high schools (Tambychik & Meerah, 2010).Most of them are scared of multiple step mathematic word problems.The causes of such mentality are numerous. First, most word problemsthat exist are only single-step ones solved by some routine. Second,most school textbooks are short of multi-step problems that advancein difficulty over the grades, and foster student`s logical thinking.Mathematics teachers have always desired to find ways to promote anincreased understanding of multiple-step mathematical word problems.However, they have faced multiple challenges in adopting theseimprovement strategies. One such barrier is students’ behaviorproblems that interfere with their mastery of multi-step mathematicword problems. Some well-performing schools have taken somestrategies to eliminate the obstacles and are doing better. Thisexposition seeks to identify strategies to remove students` behavioras a barrier to increased understanding of multiple step mathematicword problems.
Wordproblems depict the real situation in the world, something that makesfinding their solution both fun and challenging. Multi-stepmathematic word problems require the solution of a problem or more toacquire the information needed to solve the problem being asked(Tambychik & Meerah, 2010). The process involved is what learnersacross the different grades shy away from thinking that suchmathematic problems are hard. Solving these problems demand a properunderstanding of the question rather than rushing. Unfortunately,barriers interfere with understanding of multiple step mathematicword problems. Student behavior problems have been identified as abarrier that interferes with their achievement.
Learnersconfront troubles in mathematic critical thinking because ofinadequacy in obtaining various arithmetic aptitudes and deficiencyin cognitive capacities of learning. Information skill is among themost basic math abilities. Ability to recall, retain, and perceiveare cognitive skills in learning that impact the effectiveness ofcritical thinking (OECD, 2012). The trouble in arithmetic attitudesexperienced by students is a test to overcome. Deficiency in dialectskill, information power, and in mastery restrains the effectivenessof critical thinking process. Lack of these creates uncertainty,disarray, and incorrectness in decision-making. These would promptblunders in solving mathematical problems.
Educatorsneed to comprehend that their students encounter a few troubles withmultiple step mathematic word problems. The comprehension of thechallenges confronted by learners in a particular area in mathematicsis the strategy to react to this issue. In light of theunderstandings, a guideline for instructors to arrange bettermethodologies and compelling teaching techniques is produced.Instructors need to come up with instruments to diagnose the issuesaffecting students, modules, and methods vital for helping thestudents with challenges. These systems would bring about a moresignificant educating and learning process.
Teachersneed to identify the needs of all students individually so as torespond to their difficulties in handling multi-step mathematic wordproblems. The process of identifying the needs of each learner iscrucial to finding an effective way to teach the concepts to them ata pace they could understand and grasp. These endeavors will helpstudents to stay motivated in attempting to enhance their aptitudesin solving mathematical problems. Well-performing schools, such asClovis East High School, have embraced this joint effort techniqueamongst instructors and students to help the learners boost theircomprehension of multi-step math word problems (Blue Ribbon SchoolsProgram, 2016).
Ensuringeffective classroom learning strategies that include teachersidentifying the individual needs of students takes some time, energy,and resources. My colleagues and I have some form of control over theimplementation of this strategy. As teachers, it is ourresponsibility to ensure that our students understand multi-step mathword problems and other associated concepts. Little is required tomake this strategy become a reality for students. Only dedicationfrom teachers is necessary.
Anotherstrategy supported by research that would help bolster studentachievement is through policy issues. The particular method would beprioritizing the linking of schools with both parents andcommunities. Students academics are affected by many issues that gobeyond the classroom (Dardig, 2008). Even as we desire to improvetheir understanding of multi-step mathematical word problems, it isimperative that as teachers, we engage both parents and the communityas a whole in the lives of students. Burdened parents have a tendencyto be less involved in their kids` tutoring as an aftereffect offinancial and social issues (OECD, 2012). Schools need to havepolicies to ensure that they prioritize their links with groups andguardians and improve their methodologies of correspondence to makeadjustments parental and school endeavors. These more compellingtechniques are targeted at parents who are not easily reachable anddistinguish and empower people from such groupings to guide students.Creating connections with the groups around social stakeholders andschools can likewise fortify the learners as well as their schools.
Researchhas been conducted on the effect of involving parents in theirchildren`s` education. The results reveal that such an inclusionbenefits both parties. Of late educationalists propose that thecommunity also needs to be involved in the learning of children.Parents` frequent participation in the schooling of their childrenimproves the learner’s academic achievements by enhancing theirself-esteem (OECD, 2012). The parents could be involved in educationthrough Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) so that they actively takepart in decision-making processes that affect the educationalservices rendered to their children. Secondly, the parents couldassist by monitoring learning at home. Such a strategy would ensurethat the students’ weak areas in mathematics are addressed. Schoolsand educators need to share more ideas on how to promote at-homelearning. Parents could make use of strategies such as monitoring andhelping with homework. Community collaboration is an outreachstrategy in which the society and other groups are involved ineducation. Schools should provide for avenues that encourage familyand community participation in education.
Itis through such engagements between teachers, parents, and thecommunity that a learner’s weaknesses would be identified andappropriate solutions employed. Such a partnership around academicswould work best for student achievement. A holistic and anall-inclusive environment will go a long way in developing astudent`s problem-solving ability. Consequently, their skills tosolve multiple-step mathematical word problems would be boosted. Whenstudents feel that many people are concerned about their education,they develop a positive attitude towards school.
Forthe second strategy that requires the involvement of teachers as wellas the community in children`s education, little time, money, andresources are needed. Again, my colleagues and I have some form ofcontrol over the implementation of this strategy. Whatever isdemanded in this case is to communicate with parents and explain tothem the importance of being involved in their kids` education. Boththe strategies proposed are easier to implement and will go a longway in ensuring learning outcomes are met.
Inconclusion, students face numerous challenges in the mastery ofconcepts about the understanding of multiple step mathematics wordproblems. Research is ongoing on the various strategies to eliminatethe barriers faced by students in the course of their studies. Thisparticular paper proposed two strategies that could be adopted toassist learners a mastery of multi-step mathematic word problems. Thestrategies include ensuring effective classroom learning strategiesas well as engaging both parents and the community in the children’seducation. Some well-performing schools have applied the former, andthe outcomes have been amazing. Together, these strategies would aidin the attainment of the goal which is increased understanding ofmultiple step mathematic word problems.
Dardig,J. (2008). Involvingparents of students with special needs.Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
OECD(2012). Equity and quality in education: Supporting disadvantagedstudents and schools. OECDJournal, 21(3),122-210. doi.org/10.1787/9789264130852-en.
Resources- Blue Ribbon Schools Program.(2016). Www2.ed.gov.Retrieved 25 October 2016, fromhttp://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/resources.html.
Tambychik,T. & Meerah, T. (2010). Students’ difficulties in mathematicsproblem-solving: What do they say? Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 8,142-151. doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.12.020