The Brain Structures Develop The Learning Accumulates Education Essay

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One of the teachers in the diagnostic centers answered that "as the brain structures develop, the learning accumulates gradually". Specifically, the teacher reported that "a malfunction of the right hemisphere of the pupils' brain is the root cause of difficulties the pupils face in spatial ability which is essential to understand mathematical concepts."

Another participant, a teacher of a primary school, agreed with the previous opinion and added that: "the difficulty in understanding math language, which is caused by dysfunctions of the right hemisphere, resulted to these pupils find difficulties to interpret diagrams and pictures."

On the other hand, another teacher of a primary school replied that: "from my experience malfunctions of either of the two cerebral hemispheres prevent the achievement of mathematical skills."

{The researchers concluded that input from both hemispheres is necessary for the development of arithmetical skills.}

3.

Perception is the cognitive ability to receive and make sense of incoming stimuli. Dyscalculic pupils suffer from perceptual deficit.

The two interviewed teachers stated that: "Dyscalculic pupils face difficulties in noticing differences in size and shape of symbols and that resulted to copy them down incorrectly." and "They keep facing difficulties in recognizing or reading numerical symbols, arithmetic signs or even letters." As we saw in the literature review, these difficulties have also been argued by Geary (2004) and (Dowker, 2004).

Additional, the other two participants added (emphasized) that: "Dyscalculic pupils have problems with time perception, that leads to problems with planning time required to complete a task, or that leads not to remember schedules, being always late and being also confused on past or even future events." and "Pupils with dyscalculia have as well problem in handling money, giving change and paying for things. They find it too hard to understand that a coin may represent different values." These come in accordance with El-Naggar (1996) and Geary (2005) who found that their reduced perception of time, affects directly on the overall ability to design and plan their activities, plus that they confront difficulties recognizing and using coins because they are unable to distinguish the differences in their sizes, respectively.

5.

Many pupils with dyscalculia suffer from a bad memory. They not only forget what

they were going to do, but they also forget agreements they have made with their parents, their teachers or their peers. If they are asked to do three things in succession, they often only remember the last one mentioned. The other two are forgotten.

There was a consensus among the four interviewed teachers, who agreed that memory deficiencies are a primary difficulty for dyscalculic pupils. It involves the ability to store and remember information. This comes also in accordance with Wilson and Swanson, 2001; Gathercole and Pickering, 2000; Geary, 2004, who supported that pupils with dyscalculia frequently have memory deficits, which may be in working memory, or in long-term memory. More specifically, the teachers stated that "pupils with dyscalculia have poor long term memory, which means that they know mathematic facts one day, but they are not able to remember them the next day". "Dyscalculic pupils may have difficulty placing information in short term memory and retrieving it from long term memory. This can lead to pupils being able to understand a new task in class, but be unable to remember how to do the task once they leave the class." "They also have trouble remembering the meaning of mathematical symbols, have difficulties with mental calculation and that is why they depend on counting on their fingers. Moreover, they tend to be more consistently weak at retrieving arithmetical facts from their memory than their peers, and they struggle to follow instructions, especially those which involve several steps." "Finally, they even face difficulty remembering names." All the above statements come in accordance with Geary (2004, (Dowker, 2004) and (Chinn, 2004), who support the same.

6.

A large proportion of pupils who fail in mathematics are those who face difficulties connected to language skills. This is shown by problems with understanding mathematical concepts. A seemingly talented pupil may be incapable of understanding the general concepts of numbers and mathematical relations, or the written representation of these in mathematic symbols.

Two of the interviewed teachers of the diagnostic centers stated that: "Language disabilities can affect learning mathematics by making it difficult to complete tasks in a sequence or explaining why a problem is solved in a certain way." and "language is an important part of internal mathematical thinking. Dyscalculic pupils who face difficulties with the language can have difficulty relating words to meaning, understanding mathematical concepts such as first and greater than with words that have multiple meanings, deal and handle new ideas, which may lead to great frustration." These come in accordance with Glynis (2005), Attwood (2002) and DfES (2005) who support the same.

These two opinions came in accordance with the other two interviewed teachers, who one of them argued that: "I have noticed that my dyscalculic pupils having difficulty following directions and solving word problems in the classroom. The most significant of all is that they do not ask questions, even when they evidently do not understand." and finally the other added that "Children with dyscalculia may not understand the language they recite: all of them too often have a script maybe from their peers or even from their teachers, which eventually is a meaningless incantation- Six take two you cannot do, so borrow a ten- when they have no idea what all of this actually means." These symptoms come in accordance with Wright et.al., (2006), Hannel (2005) and El-Naggar (1996), who stated that dyscalculic pupils may generally not demonstrate the capacity to think about their own thinking and just imitate actions that they see their teachers or peers display.

7.

Attitudinal and emotional maturity is vital components, which involved simultaneously when a pupil is learning mathematical concepts. Early experiences of failure may lead to an increasing avoidance of everything to do with mathematics.

There was a general agreement among the four interviewed teachers, who stated that often failure or under achievement in mathematics is attributed to failure of motivation, or lack confidence of dyscalculic pupils. This comes also in accordance with Levine (2002) and Glynis (2005), who argued that dyscalculia, can have a dramatic impact on a pupil's mindset towards mathematics. Motivation plus teaching-approaches can raise the self-esteem and confidence of dyscalculic pupils and this in turn can eliminate the associated fear and stress related behaviour.

More specifically, the teachers stated that "Dyscalculic pupils lack confidence and practise avoidance strategies often manifesting in behaviour issues and helplessness strategies.  Dyscalculic pupils avoid group/partner work and if put in the situation, they will rely totally on others for answers." "The links between confidence and motivation are strong. It is easy to spot confident children who begin a task straight away whilst the children with low self-confidence will more often be low in motivation and application." "Success in mathematics requires controlled, orderly and clear thinking, which is unfortunately quite vulnerable to disruption by anxiety. Pupils with dyscalculia are at high risk of anxiety related learning difficulties. This can only be exacerbated if the child becomes anxious about failure." "Supporting learners to feel good about their selves and to appreciate their pattern of strengths and weaknesses is a building block of effective teaching-approach."

8. Have you noticed if children with dyscalculia also have limited reading and writing language (dyslexia)?

Dyscalculia and dyslexia can occur both independently of each other and together. The strategies for dealing with dyscalculia will be fundamentally the same whether or not the learner is also dyslexic.

One of the teachers in the diagnostic centers reported that: "There might be a link between dyscalculia and dyslexia." More specifically the teacher reported: "Some of my dyslexic pupils in the classroom confront also difficulties in mathematics." According to the teacher's knowledge, "these difficulties can be caused by the abnormal functioning of a specific area of the brain." Another teacher responded in the same way as the previous one and added that: "Dyscalculia is like dyslexia for numbers. Not surprisingly, difficulty in decoding written words can transfer across into a difficulty in decoding mathematical notation and symbols." These come in accordance with Kosc (1974) and Doxa (1994), who support the same However, it is contrary to Porpodas (1993), who found that the problem of a dyslexic child is mainly limited to the reading and writing language while learning other symbolic systems such as mathematical symbols mathematical and physical concepts, music elements, etc. may or may not be affected.

On the other hand, two teachers of a diagnostic center agreed that: "Having dyscalculia is not an autonomous learning difficulty. It falls within the definition of dyslexia," and "Dyscalculia and dyslexia are not two distinct syndromes." Both statements come in accordance with Joffe (1990) and Miles (1992), who consider excessive the use of the term dyscalculia when all the learning difficulties can be included under the term of 'dyslexia'. However, Chinn and Ashcroft (1993) admit that there is a small percentage of pupils, who face dyscalculia as the specific problem.

9.

When teaching pupils with dyscalculia, it is important to identify a pupil's strengths and weaknesses and understand how she/he learns best. Also, while some instructional strategies have been found to be effective for pupils with dyscalculia, research has shown that many of these instructional strategies are successful in all pupils, regardless of whether or not they have dyscalculia.

 Both teachers of diagnostic centers, agreed that there are no exact strategies for dyscalculic pupils, so a variety of teaching techniques can be tried to find what is best for the individual pupil. More precisely one of them argued that: "There are, however, a few very useful strategies to help teachers. I personally, provide my dyscalculic pupils with hand-held calculators to help them see the numbers in the correct order and also use them for a quick check for correctness. The pupils can then rework the problem immediately if it is not right. Another good strategy is an on screen computer calculator program that enables the user to select options to speak and simultaneously display numbers, functions, entire equations and results. That is also an effective technique to keep pupils focused."  The other teacher stated also the use of a calculator, which would be counterproductive. Furthermore, the teacher added: "The use of multisensory teaching methods will help dyscalculic pupils to understand and remember, providing more vivid associations that will help memory by attaching meanings to otherwise arbitrary words and symbols. 'Perceptual gestalt' images, such as five fingers on one hand or five dots on a die, are widely used. The Slavonic abacus, which has 100 beads in rows of 10, shown in fives by two colours, is also an effective technique for dyscalculic pupils." These techniques are also suggested by Levine (1999), Nolting (2000) and Lerner (1999).

The other two teachers argued about the techniques they use during a test, specifically, they stated: "I make sure in every test to leave plenty of white space for their work and concerning the structure of the test, it has to be enlarged, straightforward and uncluttered. What looks like a cute worksheet to some pupils, can look like a convoluted mess to a pupil with dyscalculia." And "when my pupils are having a test, I place my dyscalculic pupils in preferential locations in the classroom (e.g. to the front of the room, or nearer to me), plus allowing more than the 'common' time to complete a test, or even the problems from the book and check to see that the pupil is not panicking (tears in eyes, mind frozen)." Furthermore, the teacher added: "Another technique which I think is very useful, is when teachers provide lots of examples and relate math concepts to real-life situations, as soon as possible." All these techniques are also considered from Levine (1999), Nolting (2000) and Lerner (1999) as effective techniques.

This includes simple things like drawing a picture or a chart. I insist on looking at pictures, charts or graphs which are provided in the math book and I spend a lot of time to explain the graphs before move on to solve the problem. I sometimes also have my pupils read the problem aloud, that really helps them to their auditory skills. Furthermore, I use also as a teaching technique graph paper to help them keep the numbers lined up correctly and un-clutter the worksheets that will go home to prevent too much visual information from being distracting."

Mentioned that pupils may have varying abilities and levels of achievement. "In their previous years of education, many would have survived by adopting idiosyncratic methods (and/or an impressive range of avoidance strategies) and may possess only a piecemeal understanding and knowledge of mathematics." She added, "the aim is to build upon pupils' strengths and extend what they do know and understand, trying to a void imposing of arbitrary changes, which would only add to their confusion." (erwthsh 9)

"teaching should provide the structure and organization that their dyscalculia denies them and enable the full spectrum of learning styles to function (and broaden). Let us not forget that Mathematics is a precise mean of communication in everyday life." Concerning the conduct of the tests, the teacher only added(erwthsh 9)

She also indicated that: "According to researches 40%-50% of dyslexic pupils show no signs of dyscalculia. They perform at least as well in mathematics as other children, with about 10% achieving at a higher level. The remaining 50%-60% do have difficulties with mathematics (3 daskala)

And continued by saying: "For some dyslexic pupils, difficulty with mathematics may in fact stem from problems with the language surrounding mathematical questions, rather than with number concepts. Their dyslexia may cause them to misunderstand the wording of a question." (2 daskala)

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