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Learning Difficulties Faced by Students Today
Mr. Marc Prensky once wrote a famous article titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants I & II”. It states that today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed for. These students have spent their entire lives surrounded by computers, digital music players, video cameras, smartphones and other tools of the digital age. Our students today are therefore “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.
Digital native students work in a multitasking environment where they are doing homework, eating, watching TV, and texting simultaneously. On the other hand, digital immigrants ‘speak with different accents’ where they are printing an email to read or a document to edit rather than simply editing it on the computer.
This difference leads to our first difficulty facing students today: learners and instructors speak different “languages.” Most students prefer to know the answer immediately when solving math problems rather than waiting several weeks or even months for the instructor to correct and record the results, return them to the students, and explain the correct answers with a key answers The days of waiting for the results discourage the student’s motivation. There was once a college professor who wrote a letter three times to the principal of a high school asking the math teacher to return the exam paper to his daughter to review at home, but he denied her repeatedly. Today’s students expect an educational program that offers instant solutions to questions, a personal learning map, digital tracking capability, and assessment to determine strengths and weaknesses that will prepare them to better manage the learning process and to be more effective while having fun.
The second difficulty facing students today is the knowledge and qualifications of teachers. An article titled “Professor Says Teachers Need Better Math” was published in Maclean’s magazine in September 2011. The article mentions two university mathematics teachers spending two hours understanding the decimal division method taught by teachers at local secondary schools to teach their own children. who are in 7th grade. They were frustrated, the article recalls. Today’s students deserve better quality education to be well equipped to face the tougher competitive environment in the future.
The third difficulty is the reformed program of the Quebec Ministry of Education for secondary schools. The reform requires students to learn more advanced subjects in middle school compared to high school. For example, a few years ago, none of the high schools taught logarithmic functions. Any science student would know that the logarithmic function and the exponent function are like twins. You cannot learn the exponent function without learning or knowing the logarithmic function. This partial education has frustrated many responsible mathematics teachers. Currently, mathematics teachers teach these two subjects even in the third year of secondary school. In addition, problem-solving questions of a few lines have been replaced by two to five pages of situational problems.
There was a high school principal in Montreal who told one of our advanced math students that none of the teachers at the high school were able to teach him any longer. The student was then encouraged to form a math club so that other constructivists could self-teach or to get help from other tutoring centers.
These three external factors, as well as personal motivation to learn, family background and internal factors, have contributed to the learning difficulties experienced by today’s students. There are many assessment tools available, such as a happiness or depression index to see if someone is happy or depressed. For math, I will develop a math fear index to diagnose a person’s level of fear of math so that we can find solutions to deal with it. As the saying goes, “finding the cause of a problem is halfway to the solution.”
Therefore, to be a good learner, a student needs a quality education system that incorporates quality teachers, comprehensive and interactive curricula, and an environment that encourages self-motivation to learn while having fun. These combined aspects are what I call the ICE learning method.
“Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants I & II” can be read at http://www.ciberliteratura.com/profiles/blogs/digital-natives-digital
“Professor Says Teachers Need Better Math” can be read at http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2011/09/16/winnipeg-prof-says-teachers-need-better-math/
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