AH, AFTER A SOME WEEKS OF BEING BUSY WITH OTHER THINGS I AM BACK! HAVE A LOOK AT THIS OBSERVATION.
CAN GOOD ENGLISH STUDENTS DO WELL IN MATHS? (21/08/09)
It is often observed by teachers that some students who are very good in English do not do so well in Maths! The converse is generally true also.
But can such students, students who are good in English but poor in Maths, do well in Maths?
Yes, they can. I have this belief (researches may have already done work on this?) that such students who are good in English but generally poor in Maths can do well in Maths – especially in certain topics in Maths.
The term ‘such students’ refer to those students who are very good in English but just do not seem to grasp concepts in Maths that quickly; and as a result they do not do well in their Maths tests.
I have thought for so long (from my own personal experiences) that Algebra, a topic in Maths, can be understood much better by good English students. The symbols in this topic are just letters or pronumerals (x, y, z, a, b or c) and numbers; and these pronumerals are used here to represent amounts or quantities.
The solving of equations involve moving terms (letters or numbers) about both sides of the equation – and letters especially is something that good English students are comfortable with.
Topics like Geometry, Measurement of Solids, Numbers (percentages, fractions, and decimals), etc may not be that easy for such students. Some of these topics like Geometry need you to train to look at an object at different angles and notice features that can help you solve a problem. Some people are born with that ability or skill, so to speak; others ‘catch’ that skill because of the environment that they grew up in. Many people, including myself have to train ourselves (something that many such students often do not like to do) to look at a shape and get the ‘feel’ of it in 2dimensions or 3dimensions, depending on what shape you are investigating.
On a personal note, as I was growing up, shapes did not interest me, letters did, because I liked reading. Hence I found my way around Algebra before I forced myself to think and get a good sense of space and shapes. And I used the word forced, because that is exactly what a student must be willing to do to develop his or skills in other topics of Maths. And such students must realize that all of Maths is not Algebra.
Today as I was going through the test papers of students in Indices (or Powers) I noticed that the good students in English who never scored more that 50% on their Maths test scored good marks – as high as 85%, the best score yet (though unbelievable, as it seems) for these students.
The Laws of Indices, as taught, use just numbers and letters.
Check a good Maths book to see the laws of indices.
See that the rules are simple and the symbols used are just letters with numbers.
Hopefully these good marks scored by such students, who are good in their English, but poor in Maths, can encourage them to do better in other topics in Maths also.
The teacher must also help guide such students to think like that, particularly:
If I have done well in tests in Indices and Algebra, why can’t I do well in other topics in Maths?
Or:
If I can do well in these topics, I can do better in other topics in Maths also.
I HAVE DECIDED THAT IN A COUPLE OF DAYS I SHALL SHARE WITH YOU TIDBITS ON A PROJECT I AM WORKING ON. THE PROJECT IS TITLED: HABITS OF A GOOD LEARNER!
WHY IS IT THAT SOME PEOPLE SUCCEED IN LEARNING WHILE OTHERS WHO ARE EQUALLY GIFTED AREN'T THAT SUCCESSFUL? THE ANSWER IS 'HABITS'! 
