I’m doing something that I should have done a long time ago: collecting a series of posts into one single post. Recently, Math With Bad Drawings had a terrific series on how students try to avoid thinking in math class.
Part 1: Introduction: “In teaching math, I’ve come across a whole taxonomy of insidious strategies for avoiding thinking. Albeit for understandable reasons, kids employ an arsenal of time-tested ways to short-circuit the learning process, to jump to right answers and good test scores without putting in the cognitive heavy lifting. I hope to classify and illustrate these academic maladies: their symptoms, their root causes, and (with any luck) their cures.”
Part 2: Students’ natural desire to mindlessly plug numbers into a formula without conceptual understanding.
Part 3: The importance of both computational proficiency and conceptual understanding.
Part 4: Fears of word problems.
Part 5: What happens when students get stuck getting started on a problem.
Part 6: Is only getting the right answer important?