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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Using a dictionary in Math Class

Mathematics is considered as a difficult subject by most of students. Many a times it is observed that students know a concept but when it comes to writing an examination they commit errors. This results in a poor score which lead to disinterest in the subject. Teachers of Mathematics have been putting a lot of efforts from their end in making the subject simpler and interesting. But the success rate of students loving the subject is very low. There are many reasons for committing errors.  One of the predominant reason for getting a low score is due to lack of understanding of vocabulary used. Mathematics has a beautiful vocabulary of its own. While teaching learning Mathematics in classroom stress should be laid on understanding the vocabulary and interpreting its meaning. Once the students understand the meaning of terms used then they can apply the knowledge in attempting a problem.
A teacher of class 4 asked a question in a class. Compare 4392 and 4329. Surprisingly 90% of the class did not give any reply because of the fact that they were not clear about what is to be done? or what is asked to be done?
Teacher wrote on the board, Put >, < or =  between 4392 and 4329.
98% students raised their hands to reply the answer.
Another observation was made by a teacher of class 6. She was dictating a problem. She said, "-4 is greater than -2. Is it true or false?" She asked students to write this mathematical statement in the notebook. 90% of students could not decide to put symbol > or < for greater than.
This indicates students find difficulty in understanding Mathematical terminology , symbols and their meaning. 
What we can do to overcome this?
We can try using a strategy of using dictionary in classroom while teaching any chapter.
Make a 3 column sheet.
Column 1- Mathematical term and its meaning
Column 2- English vocabulary used and its meaning
Column 3- Assessment/Evaluation words in Mathematics and its meaning

When you start a lesson, ask students to find meaning of terms which they have studies in their previous class, related to the chapter to be done.
You may provide the word list to them.
Discuss the meaning  and its interpretation with examples.
Let students find meaning of terms from chapter from dictionary and keep a record.
The same task can be done in the recapitulation period also.

I hope this strategy will help students in enhancing their Mathematical vocabulary.

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