Stuart H. Radin - Mathematics Tutor

 


Academic Math Tutoring Approach

"Math should be analyzed, not memorized"
                                                  Stuart H. Radin, 2006 A.D.

What is the most often heard question mathematics teachers hear from disinterested students? I bet it is; "When am I going to use this stuff?" Well, the honest truth (am I being redundant?) is that the vast majority of students will never, ever, ever use this stuff. But students are missing the whole value of mathematics. I believe that more than any other subject students take throughout their middle school and high school academic careers, mathematics teaches students how to think logically. And they may never hear "Skippy I need those algebraic equations solved and on my desk by Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.!". But no matter what career they choose, they will be expected to think logically. They will be expected to be problem solvers, and this is mathematics' greatest value.

I always look at math as a series of patterns. If you can figure out the pattern, you can apply the pattern to any problem. When I look at a mathematics topic that I am not familiar with, I look for the underlying patterns. Memorization only works for the short term. With memorization, if you do not consistently review the concepts, you eventually forget how to solve the problems. But if you analyze the problem and determine the underlying patterns, you can always come back later and still be able to apply the concepts.

Here is an example: many pre-calculus students, when studying trigonometry, are forced to memorize the unit circle, and the radian equivalents of standard angles around the unit circle. This drives me nuts! What value does it serve to memorize a bunch of numbers? Memorizing these numbers, in my humble opinion, does not indicate understanding or intelligence. On the other hand, if a student knows the relationships of the sides of the 30/60/90 and 45/45/90 triangles and the identity that π = 180, then they can easily determine the radian measure of any of the standard angles.

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