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Name: melissa a jacobson
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1995

Why is algebra so confusing to so many people?

Author: Because it is so badly taught.




Hey, let me tell you guys a story. I went to school over here in North America as a kid (actually in Canada), and then spent a year in England for grade 5. They were doing algebra (real simple stuff) already (and actually they put me back a grade too). And I was totally confused. I did great in math over here - you know, multiplica- tion, long division, etc., but I had no clue as to what this algebra stuff was. I just asked my friends how to do the stuff, and plugged away, filling in using the methods they said to use, but it just did not make any sense. I mean, why was x equal to one thing in one equation and another in the next? And how were you supposed to know the x that happened to work was the only one that would? I do not remember the full extent of my confusion, but I do remember how complicated it all seemed. And then, about halfway through the year, it suddenly clicked! But I remember how challenging it was at first. Basically, I would say algebra just does not come naturally (most of mathematics does not) even to people who seem to be very mathemati- cally skilled. There is a learning process, and if the individual involved clues out, does not put the effort into it, misses the couple of classes that really would have helped, or whatever, then they are out of luck, unless they figure it out somehow later on. But then they are way behind everybody else. So, maybe it is partly the teachers' fault, but I think there ought to be a better way of getting ideas into all of our heads!


I was just the opposite: arithmetic was one of my poorest subjects until math became more than arithmetic, i.e., algebra. Then it was one of my best subjects!


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