Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mastery Matters

After reading some researches on Mathematics Education and having a couple of observations in my classes, I thought of not giving homeworks to my students anymore. My reasons are personally valid based on the observations I had and the supposedly purpose for giving homeworks. Homeworks are supposed to be given for practice and mastery of mathematical concepts and skills. However, with the learners' bulk of homeworks, the extension works I have given them as homework were clearly done for the sake of finishing them and not being scolded in the classroom.

The truth about homework is that the students who have been performing in class well and seem to have mastered the concepts and skills already are the ones who would most likely do them while those who need them the most would most likely escape from them and end up copying or half-heartedly doing them. Goals are forfeited, indeed.

I decided, instead of giving homeworks, I could give all the exercises in the classroom. That way I could make sure that they are all doing and I could also provide immediate feedback -- straightforward when a mathematical problem is correctly solved and when a mistake is committed in any part of the solution. I know it would work but I need to put on another consideration and that is TIME. Time is one of the greatest constraint for not achieving something -- there has been too little time to a learn a couple of mathematical concepts.

It's one of the worst scenario in our education institutions today. Too much focus has been given on studying a couple of contents and students are treated like machines who are ready to accept all those things fed unto them. It's an ugly truth and I don't want to live into it. Learning concepts matters more than studying concepts because the learned ones tend to be applied more that those ones which were only studied. Studying and learning has to be differentiated in this case as not all who study learn.

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