It is fairly obvious that not all people can do equally well in all things. But, motivation can help all people to do the very best they are capable of doing in any given field. One example that comes to mind is "Rudy", the young man determined to attend Notre Dame and play on the Notre Dame football team, despite his academic and physical shortcomings (5'6" and 165 lbs). Through self motivation and determination, he did it. He managed to get accepted into Notre Dame and graduate (I assume). And on the football team only played two plays at the end of a game to record a quarterback sack, but he played. According to the site below, Daniel Ruettiger was also dyslexic.

I had never heard of "Rudy". Thanks for sharing the story. In reading your post, I see that you specifically put the phrase "through self motivation". If someone does not like something, then the motivation has to come from another source besides "self". For the struggling math student, it is the fact that math is required to graduate. There is also the student that already likes math but still does not do well with it and still does not graduate because of failing the standard math test. This is the type of person that I am refering to. I have asked the question, "Can all people understand advanced algebra concepts?" before. The only answer that I have seen is that "Algebra2 is not a hard subject".

quote:Originally posted by msakowski

It is fairly obvious that not all people can do equally well in all things. But, motivation can help all people to do the very best they are capable of doing in any given field. One example that comes to mind is "Rudy", the young man determined to attend Notre Dame and play on the Notre Dame football team, despite his academic and physical shortcomings (5'6" and 165 lbs). Through self motivation and determination, he did it. He managed to get accepted into Notre Dame and graduate (I assume). And on the football team only played two plays at the end of a game to record a quarterback sack, but he played. According to the site below, Daniel Ruettiger was also dyslexic.

Students diagnosed with dyslexia are usually provided assistance (through special education programs) to find ways to deal with this particular learning disability. Many of them are successful in regular education classes once they have some "tools" to handle this disability.

I think the same might be true for students who have "discalculia"....but I don't think there are YET many programs to address this problem.

Algebra 2 is not a terribly "advanced" math class. In my experience (teaching this subject for some 20 years), MOST students who really want to pass this class WILL... They'll ask for extra help. They'll use the "math lab" if your school has one. Their parents will hire a tutor.

Now, kids who say "I hate math" and who won't put forth much effort don't fall into this category. Failing Algebra 2 is a "merit badge" for them.

You can side with the failures, or the MANY students who don't have particular interest or ability in math, but DO have the drive to work hard and succeed.

I sense your frustration here...you are in a situation where you're dealing with state standards. As I see it, you have two choices...work with the system and do the very best you can, or perhaps move to a private school which may very well have students at a higher ability level (AND parents who will support you!). Or...you could decide that teaching may not be your best option.

YET-Do you think that dyscalculia is real? Yes MOST-Do you think that there are some students that just can't pass Algebra2? I guess I would be a fool if I said that EVERY student could pass Algebra 2, but I still believe that most can side-In this sentence you have lumped "interest" and "ability" together with the word "or". I have been pondering what the relationship is. Is there a limit to "ability"? Just because someone might have "interest", does that mean hard work will guarantee success? There shouldn't have to be well, interest and ability are NOT the same...but, if a student has one OR the other, the chances of success are markedly improved. sides to choose but, of course, that is life. Students don't have a choice anymore. Has the number GOOD engineers really increased percentage wise since math and science requirements have increased? How about the percentage of GOOD doctors? A student that has "ability" AND "interest" in math and/or science is the one that should be taking Algebra2 with his/her peers (of the same high ability and interest). Now, these students are put into the same class as those with lower ability and no interest. This has created the problem of today. Well, maybe there is no problem... Obviously, teaching a class with students of varying ability AND interest levels is a challenge. It is easy and fun to teach bright, interested students. It is MUCH harder, and lots less fun to try to motivate those "others" to succeed in something like Algebra 2. You won't win them all. The state can't COMPEL you to win them all. state standards-I read an article that indicated many states have standards that really are an illusion. It seems to be an "all or nothing" type of system. A student has a certain minimum ability at EVERYTHING or not. If a student doesn't meet at least a minimum standard in each subject, then the student does not get the stamp of approval. Some states are moving to a system where there is some give and take. The higher ability shown in one subject can allow a lower minimum standard in another subject. That may seem terrible but when you think about it, isn't it better to at least have 'real' high standards kept in all subjects and just hold those students with that particular ability to it instead of having lower standards in all subjects just so that ALL STUDENTS can pass? may and higher ability-Do you agree that there are students with higher ability in some subjects than others? Some state education agencies are starting to think this way.

You know, TheHill...I think you've got an agenda going here (understandable, due to the situation you're in, I guess) that I don't quite agree with. As I said in an earlier post...you can beat yourself to death against the wall you're up against, or you can look elsewhere for something more fulfilling.

Ultimately, the motivation does have to come from one's self. We can not "externally" motivate. We can, however, lead students to be self-motivated by "selling" the idea that education in math is beneficial in many different ways.

quote:Originally posted by the_hill1962

I had never heard of "Rudy". Thanks for sharing the story. In reading your post, I see that you specifically put the phrase "through self motivation". If someone does not like something, then the motivation has to come from another source besides "self". For the struggling math student, it is the fact that math is required to graduate. There is also the student that already likes math but still does not do well with it and still does not graduate because of failing the standard math test. This is the type of person that I am refering to. I have asked the question, "Can all people understand advanced algebra concepts?" before. The only answer that I have seen is that "Algebra2 is not a hard subject".

quote:Originally posted by msakowski

It is fairly obvious that not all people can do equally well in all things. But, motivation can help all people to do the very best they are capable of doing in any given field. One example that comes to mind is "Rudy", the young man determined to attend Notre Dame and play on the Notre Dame football team, despite his academic and physical shortcomings (5'6" and 165 lbs). Through self motivation and determination, he did it. He managed to get accepted into Notre Dame and graduate (I assume). And on the football team only played two plays at the end of a game to record a quarterback sack, but he played. According to the site below, Daniel Ruettiger was also dyslexic.

I would like to 'change gears' with this topic/thread. Instead of starting a new thread titled "calculation and reasoning", I will just post here: In the "accommodations" section of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), it states this about "Calculation Devices": If a student's disability affects mathematics calculation but not reasoning, a calculator or other assistive device may be used. My question is what sort of disability would affect only "mathematics calculation"? Does anyone know of any? My research into "dyscalculia" has led me to believe that dyscalculia is a disorder that affects a person's ability to follow a series of logical steps. Am I wrong? Maybe it is a disorder that ONLY affects mathematics calculation? I read through all the accomodations and I could not find anything that states if a student has a disability that affects reasoning. So, the only possible disability in math (according to the state of Texas) is an impairment with calculation and that no student could possibly have an impairment with reasoning. This does not make sense to me. I appreciate the comments and posts everyone has made so far in this topic. If anyone knows of a disability that "affects mathematics calculation but not reasoning", please let me know.

In Where Mathematics Comes From (George Lakeoff | Rafael E. Nunez), Chapter 1, they list some parts of the brain that deal with mathematics

The Inferior Parietal Cortex - involved in symbolic numerical abilities

Here they discuss:

Epilepsia Arithmetices, a rare form of epileptic seizures that occurs when doing arithmetic calculations.

A patient of Stanislas Dehaene, Mr. M (who had a lesion on his inferior parietal cortex), lost his knowledge of number sequence and ability to do simple arithmetic. More interestingly, other sequential information (The alphabet, days of the week, etc...) and his rote memory were unaffected.

The Prefrontal Cortex - involved in complex arithmetic calculation and sequential operations.

"Patients with frontal lesions have difficulty using the multiplication algorithm, adding when they should multiply, forgetting to carry over, not processing digits in the right order."

Subcortical Basal Ganglia - involved in rote memorization

This section of the book concludes that rote calculation, basic arithmetic, and algebraic abilities are all localized separately.

Unfortunately the book doesn't go any deeper into this.

I suppose that I need to take the course http://www.uth.tmc.edu/clinicalneuro/institute/2005/Course%20Syllabus%20Math%20Disorders2%20%282%29.doc Thanks, uberclay, for pointing out the work by Stanislas Dehaene. Mrspi, I probably do have an agenda going on and it is probably due to the situation that I am in. You state that you disagree with it. Why do you disagree with what you believe my agenda is? I don't have the power to change state education regulations that require advanced algebra has the minimum math for graduation. I would just like to have more done in the way of determining if there is any disorder in math ability such as dyslexia has been done for reading and other disorders in other subjects. It is easy to see phyiscal disabilities. Not all children can run quickly. I just don't think that all children can understand advanced algebra. In most school systems, that is a roadblock for obtaining a diploma.

Thank you for your post andreaswanson1. However, I am not trying to find out if students with dyslexia have trouble with math. I am trying to find out if anyone knows of a student with dyscalculia. There are a couple websites that have been pointed out referencing the condition of dyscalculia but I have yet to find anyone that actually has known anyone with dyscalculia. Is there anyone reading this that knows anything more about the condition than has already been posted here? There are lots of resources for dyslexia diagnosis but there doesn't seem to be much about dyscalculia. Maybe the condition isn't real. It just seems to me that if students can get therapy and overcome dyslexia then maybe there is a way to do the same with dyscalculia (if there is such a condition).

quote:Originally posted by andreaswanson1

Im not sure, but i have dyslexia and i scored 581 for 7th grade math. It trips me up on fractions sometimes, but i over came it. Maybe for others, it is not that easy.