Wearing the "This is stupid. I don't need this" mask

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pi-R-Squared, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Apr 22, 2018

    What I'm intimating at is this....

    Students who struggle in my math classes often say that math is stupid, when am I ever gonna need this, I hate math, etc..... and it's the boys who do this.....they wear the "Math is Stupid" mask because I guess they don't want to be seen as less intelligent....

    Do girls do this as well???
     
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  3. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I find that the question "when will we need this in real life" is more often than not insincere, especially when asked in front of the class. And even if it is sincere, they need to realize that not everything they are learning is going to have some grand purpose or application to their lives. My usual response is usually one of the following: "Friday's test" "What is this? Fake life?" or "Oh, but Shakespeare and the War of 1812 are so relevant?"

    I've only had one student ask this so far this year (out of 120) so it's a good year.

    It does almost exclusively seem to be boys that ask the question.
     
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  4. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I find that statement to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in a lot of cases. The kids who say that imo generally aren't the type who will be using it later in life, at least in their careers. I think they are rationalizing their failure to comprehend or do the necessary work required to comprehend the material in a misguided effort to "save face".
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Boys are likelier to project, I think, at least in terms of what comes out of the mouth: the interior monologue goes, I'm struggling with math, and struggling feels wrong, and what comes out of the mouth is "Math is stupid." Girls are, I think, likelier to internalize (with, historically, a great deal of help from society): what comes out of the mouth as a result of the same internal monologue is "I'm stupid in math." Neither is healthy.
     
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  6. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Agree! I've gotten this response from senior boys going straight into military or to the trailer plant. My 9th grade Alg IA class is 90% boys and all of them either say "this is stupid" or "I am stupid." Again, one of the 9th grade boys comes from a military family and will probably enlist when he's done with school. The others are lazy. My female students tend to try hard but struggle but don't call themselves stupid.
     
  7. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Some girls do this too, but it's definitely more of an issue with boys. I get it in English class all the time. My stock response to any of them about any subject matter is that school is about teaching them to THINK. Solving math problems, analyzing poetry, and performing science experiments help build those mental skills that will transfer to what they consider more "real world" applications.

    I use weightlifting as an example. Weightlifting is a very popular class in our school, especially for our male athletes (and our school is small with most of the student body playing at least one sport). I've often thought if the students who work their butts off in weightlifting would put in as much mental effort in their academic classes, they'd all be vying for full rides to Ivy League schools by senior year! I try to explain to them that things like reading, writing, and math take just as much practice and effort as weightlifting, but the work has to be mental instead of physical. And they kind of get it, because they are lifting in order to be successful on the sports field. So the goal isn't just lifting the weight, it's improving their overall strength and ability as athletes. Likewise, the goal in my class isn't just reading the assignments, but improving their overall strength and ability as thinkers.
     
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  8. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Ah, but they will use this in their life! Maybe they won't be "rocket scientists", but they will encounter situations where appropriate mathematical understanding will guide their choices. They won't be duped by cold or warm readings by a mentalist, but instead they'll realize the high probability of a coincidence that surely one of the many predictions will come true. A con artist who starts naming people or events to gain confidence will eventually name a familiar situation, and they won't be fooled into giving the guy all their money. Statistics won't befuddle them into believing false media reports or exaggerating politicians. Personalized self-created computer applications such as spreadsheets will help them budget their money and plan for the future. Credit cards will not become debtor's prison. Something as simple as a weather report, how often I hear adults proclaim, "Oh! He's just making that up!" not realizing the mathematical models involved in the prediction and the mathematics that work against the prediction. I once had a fallen branch dangerously snagged in a tree in my yard. I used math to not only predict the size of the branch to know how far back to stand but also how to successfully pull it down only using the materials I had on hand without purchasing anything else. Pseudoscience will remain pseudoscience and the supermarket tabloids will remain in their racks. And if for no other reason, math is fascinating; Fibonacci numbers, fractals, geometric designs....And frankly, they don't know what their future profession(s) will be. Why lock themselves in a box right now. This isn't quantum physics; they can't be both inside and outside the box. This is their prime opportunity to learn, and once they leave that opportunity, it might never return again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  10. TrademarkTer

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    I think as long as they are enjoying themselves, real world doesn't matter. I'd be careful confusing meaning/connectedness with "when they are going to use this". II cover meaning and purpose for sure, but meaning, purpose, and connectedness does not mean it is something they are going to use in their daily life. Not everything has to have a practical purpose, and I will not pretend like complex numbers and cosecant graphs are practical to most of their lives. I'm not a snake oil salesman, but I will show them how the cosecant graph relates to the unit circle and to the other trig functions they know. I will relate the cosecant graph to the sum and difference formulas too. We go deep, deep, deep, but if your interest is theater or world history, well, then you have a test to pass.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I love you for this post! Beautifully written.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Try putting it to them like this:

    “Do the majority of YouTubers have successful YouTube channels? So can the majority of you rely on becoming YouTube celebrities to make a living?”
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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