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A quick question about girls, maths, and motivation.

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by lurk_much, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    My brother in law is a smart cookie, Cambridge educated engineer sort, not really a people person though. His daughter (13) privately educated is struggling in maths, really doesn't like it, doesn't want to succeed. She is keen to move down the sets. She is socially competent, and not as daft as she seems to want to be.
    Home ed sessions are not helping, my BiL has no clue how to proceed once he has broken something down to the intermediate steps and suggested that it is straightforward. I am equally ignorant.
    Is it possible that she is finding being clever an inconvenience? Is there a basic how to teach maths text that I could pick up on amazon? Are we missing something obvious?
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    A couple of things to consider.
    She may genuinely be finding maths difficult and it will not help if someone who is very competent at mathematics constantly tells her it is easy.
    Have a look at the works of Carol Dweck. She is a professor at Stanford and deals with these type of issues ( amongst others ).
    I would also speak to her teacher and see what is going on and what his or her opinion on the matter is.
    It may very well be that she can do the maths but wants to change sets for social reasons.
    Good luck.
  3. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    I have had a quick wiki, it looks pretty useful, (and quite interesting of itself) I shall pass it on.
  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Is the help that she is having at home from the parents/family members? This often does not work well! A private tutor may help her buold her confidence if they want to go down that route.
    What reasons does she give for wanting to move down sets?
  5. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    yes - sorry for the brevity, I haven't really had a full briefing.
    none given - I suspect that she just doesn't really care for it, but getting anything beyond a shrug is tricky.[​IMG]
    I wanted to be a forearmed before I tackled them. It looked like the current method was a tad fraught.
  6. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    I once had a head of department (maths) who paid the second in department to tutor his daughter. She went to the tutors house, HOD kept out of it totally (apart from the cheque). This was the only way to make it work and it did work out very well.
  7. how is she doing, and how is she motivated, in other subjects? any idea how she sees her future?
    is her school a competative one, or a 'finishing school' sort of place?
  8. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    She is a happy kid, competitive, competitive school. I think I am going to buy the motivation book, read it and innocently pass it on, see how it goes.
    I will get back with an update later in the year.
    Thanks for the replies.

  9. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    One thing you should know is that usualy it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for girls that they LIKE their teacher. I've seen this time and time again, and it cuts across all subjects, ages and abilities.

    It also matters for boys, but to nowhere near the same degree. Many teachers will tell you this isn't the case, and I'll get a lot of flak for this post, but they are in denial - and I think you can guess why.

    So, one of the first things you might want to find out is whether this young lady likes her maths teacher. If she doesn't then it's very likely that she will decide that she doesn't like maths, regardless of her ability.
  10. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I agree 100% with this. As I keep saying subjects that are often least liked by some students can suddenly become their favourite because of the teacher. I agree that it tends to be the girls that it seems to matter the most with.


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