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# How to get teachers to respect other ways of solving problems?

I'm so frustrated. We just had dd's PT conference where we finally got to see her work and it's full of little juicy tidbits where dd answered very ambiguous questions with perfectly intelligent responses and was told they were wrong and that she needed to write something less thoughtful.

Example:

________________________________________

Write the number.

six ________ eight ________

seven ________ nine ______

_________________________________________

She wrote

six seven eight nine

seven eight nine ten

_________________________________________

her teacher had her correct it to

six 6 eight 8

seven 7 nine 9

_________________________________________

I know this is the stuff that makes her crazy at school.

So, how do you get teachers to properly word assignments and to show children that they value their thinking?

I think it would depend on what the directions said. If she was directed to write the numeral that corresponded with the word (which it looks like she was), then your daughter was wrong, even if she was thoughtful. She didn't write the number; she wrote a word. If all that was there was six ____ eight _____, then she obviously wasn't given direction.

I will say that one common issue bright kids (and grownups, LOL!) seem to have is that they skip the directions and either assume what's being asked of them or assume they can figure it out on their own. Learning to carefully read directions is a good life skill to have.
Dd is given worksheet after worksheet. Each problem is different and what I wrote is the sum total of the directions given. It was not based on any class instruction. There was no sample set. Numerals were not mentioned anywhere.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by annettemarie I think it would depend on what the directions said. If she was directed to write the numeral that corresponded with the word (which it looks like she was), then your daughter was wrong, even if she was thoughtful. She didn't write the number; she wrote a word. If all that was there was six ____ eight _____, then she obviously wasn't given direction.
Just wondering where you got this. Are you just assuming she must have been given more direction because (you agree with me) that the directions I copied here are clearly too ambiguous?
The directions said write the number. Your daughter wrote the number word. I'm not denying it was divergent thinking, but she wasn't following the directions given.

Granted we homeschool, but my son has similar work in his first grade, and the text and worksheets definitely differentiate between numbers (although I do believe they're more correctly called numerals) and number words. They're two different things.
While I can see where your daughter was confused, the directions do not say "write the next number" or "complete the pattern" Despite the fact that the directions weren't clear enough to differentiate between "number" and "numeral," I don't think the teach was wrong in telling her that she was wrong. She didn't answer with a different way of solving the problem, she answered based on a misinterpretation of the somewhat confusing directions.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by expecting-joy Just wondering where you got this. Are you just assuming she must have been given more direction because (you agree with me) that the directions I copied here are clearly too ambiguous?
The directions you copied said "write the number" not "write the missing number word."

Number (or numeral) = 7, 8, 9

Number word = seven, eight, nine
what she did was write the missing number, not the number. What she did was incorrect given the directions.

I would hope the teacher would have returned it to her and said, "Wow! You made the assignment much trickier than it was supposed to be. Now please redo this and write the number for each word."

there are ways for a teacher to re-direct a child's divergent thinking without killing it.
I agree with AnnetteMarie that it looks like she didn't read the directions. It says "write the number," not "fill in the missing numbers."

I would also make sure that your DD understands that she can ask for clarification if the directions are confusing. Gifted kids are often very shy about doing that, because they're afraid of looking dumb if they say they don't understand something.

It was very clever of her to notice that pattern!
Interesting. So numerals are now numbers and the written form of a number is now a number word? Is there consensus on this? That would be helpful information to pass along, if it is indeed the new eduspeak.

I guess part of the problem is it is now November and she has yet to receive math instruction, just page after page of problems where there is just one of each type. I think they are waiting for her to hit a ceiling or something. She has to extrapolate from very little what it is that is asked for.

Anyway, it's not a huge deal, this one problem, it's more a concern about question wording and the feedback given my child.
Look, as a teacher I've gotta say that when a student answers a question based upon an incorrect interpretation of the instructions it is because it was a crappily written assignment 9 out of 10 times. I think that the way your daughter answered it makes perfect sense.

A good teacher will not use an opportunity like this to shame a student or tell them they are wrong...but to see what the child knows when the instructions are made more clear. So I think the teacher should have gone over to your daughter and said "Hey Susie, how would you do this differently if I asked you to write the numeral next to the spelled-out number?" And then go from there.

Teachers need to be able to work with kids...there are many different types of learners and not all will interpret instructions the way the teacher intends (who is a specific type of learner herself). Any teacher who cannot see this (or will not) is being arrogant and abusing her power IMO.
A number is a general abstract idea representing a certain amount. 1 = one = I = 2-1 etc. All represent the general idea of oneness.

A numeral is the actual pictoral/symbolic representation of that idea. So, in America we use Arabic numerals. Roman numerals are another type of numeral.

I don't think it's that new. I did my teacher training almost 20 years ago, and these were the working definitions back then.
Wow! You guys are fast!

Quote:
 I would also make sure that your DD understands that she can ask for clarification if the directions are confusing. Gifted kids are often very shy about doing that, because they're afraid of looking dumb if they say they don't understand something. It was very clever of her to notice that pattern!
This is what I need to work on even more all the time. She is very reluctant to ask for help and the teachers are not readily available as they are helping other children. I will continue to stress to dd the need to ask for clarification.

lach, you really hit the nail on the head.

In the past she has seen problems written similarly that were asking for the missing word. I just wish the teacher would write a little something encouraging on her papers when she does stuff like that.
I guess I missed the part where the teacher was being mean or unkind to the OP's daughter. She just said she had her correct it, not how she went about it. I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down. I'm sorry if I missed that part.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl Look, as a teacher I've gotta say that when a student answers a question based upon an incorrect interpretation of the instructions it is because it was a crappily written assignment 9 out of 10 times. I think that the way your daughter answered it makes perfect sense. A good teacher will not use an opportunity like this to shame a student or tell them they are wrong...but to see what the child knows when the instructions are made more clear. So I think the teacher should have gone over to your daughter and said "Hey Susie, how would you do this differently if I asked you to write the numeral next to the spelled-out number?" And then go from there. Teachers need to be able to work with kids...there are many different types of learners and not all will interpret instructions the way the teacher intends (who is a specific type of learner herself). Any teacher who cannot see this (or will not) is being arrogant and abusing her power IMO.
I so agree. We had a problem with her teachers trying to "stump" her last year.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by annettemarie A number is a general abstract idea representing a certain amount. 1 = one = I = 2-1 etc. All represent the general idea of oneness. A numeral is the actual pictoral/symbolic representation of that idea. So, in America we use Arabic numerals. Roman numerals are another type of numeral. I don't think it's that new. I did my teacher training almost 20 years ago, and these were the working definitions back then.
Exactly! She supplied numbers! The instructions weren't clear on which numbers were desired.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by annettemarie I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down.
I wish that were the case. This has not been my experience though...many teachers I know went into education because they wanted a job, or didn't know what else to do with their degree.

OP what I am most disturbed by is the fact your daughter is doing all those worksheets in first grade! Way to kill a love a learning early.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by expecting-joy Exactly! She supplied numbers! The instructions weren't clear on which numbers were desired.
She supplied the missing number words.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by expecting-joy So, how do you get teachers to properly word assignments and to show children that they value their thinking?
Well, unfortunately, I don't think you do. I think teachers should encourage creativity and divergent thinking, but parents can't force it. you are much better off creating an environment where your child's thinking and creativity are valued and stretched at home, and encouraging them to crack the code of the teacher's expectations while at school.

It is important for children to learn that different people have different expectations, and how to "code switch" to function successfully in different settings. (Code switch is a linguistic term for the way children from different micro-cultures learn to communicate in settings with different cultural expectations and language nuances than their home--I've never heard it used to describe this type of switch, but I do think it is appropriate).
Quote:
 Originally Posted by annettemarie I guess I missed the part where the teacher was being mean or unkind to the OP's daughter. She just said she had her correct it, not how she went about it. I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down. I'm sorry if I missed that part.
There's a little history.

The point is that my dd is very sensitive. No one actually teaches her math. They're still "assessing" where she is. She wants to please. She wants to learn. We see how being told she is wrong sometimes really affects her. She needs to learn how to deal with that, of course, but we'd like the teachers to take a little responsibility for how they present things and respond to her attempts. Most of the problems are more challenging. These little doo-dads really throw her for a loop.
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