Famous article titled Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants I & II says that todays students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach. These students have spent their entire lives surrounded by computers, digital music players, camcorders, smart phones and various other tools in the digital age. Our students today are all mother tongues of the digital language for computers, video games and the internet.
Digital embedded students work in a multitasking environment where they do homework, eat, watch TV and text at the same time. On the other hand, digital immigrants speak in different accents where they print an e-mail to read or a document to edit rather than just editing it on the computer.
This difference leads to our first difficulty facing students today - students and instructors speak different languages. Most students prefer to know the answer immediately when they solve mathematical problems instead of waiting several weeks and even months for the instructor to correct and record the results, return them to the students, and explain the correct answers with a response key. Days waiting for results despair the motivation for a student. Once upon a time, university professor wrote a letter three times to the head of a high school to request that the teacher return the proof paper to his daughter to review at home but was denied several times. Todays teacher expects a training program that offers immediate solutions to questions, a personalized learning chart, digital follow-up ability and assessment to determine the strengths and weaknesses that will prepare them to handle the learning process better and be more effective while youre having fun.
The second difficulty for the students face today is knowledge and qualifications for instructors. An article titled Prof says teachers need better mathematics was published in Macleans magazine in September 2011. The article mentions two university mathematicians who spend two hours understanding the decimal-sharing method taught by local high school teachers to teach their own children in class 7 They were frustrated, the article recalls. Todays teachers deserve a better education that is well equipped to cope with the tougher competitive environment in the future.
The third difficulty is the reformed program of the Quebec Ministry of Education for colleges. The reform requires students to learn more advanced subjects in junior high compared to senior highs. For example, a few years ago, none of the high school learned logarithmic functions. A scientific main student would know that the logarithm and exponent function are twins. You can not learn the exponent function without learning or knowing about the logarithm. This partial education has frustrated many responsible math teachers. Nowadays, math teachers teach these two subjects in secondary three. Furthermore, problem solving questions of a few lines have been replaced by two to five pages of situation problems.
It was a college director in Montreal who told one of our advanced math students that no secondary school teacher could teach him anymore. The student was then invited to form a math club for other constructivists to self-learn or get help from other tutoring centers.
These three external factors as well as personal learning motivation, family backgrounds and internal factors have contributed to the learning difficulties facing todays students. Many assessment tools are out there, such as a happiness or depression index to see if you are happy or depressed. With regard to mathematics, I will develop a math freezing index to diagnose a persons level of fear of math so we can find solutions to handle it. As it says, finding the cause of a problem is half way to reach the solution.
Therefore, to be a good teacher, a student needs a qualitative education system that includes quality instructors, complete and interactive curricula, and an environment that promotes self motivation to learn while you are having fun. These combined aspects are what I call I.C.E. learning method.