Doing The Math
Recent studies suggest that anxiety about math can be learned from others. It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy that hinders a student's potential for success. In short, math anxiety can be contagious—a child can quite literally pick it up from his or her family, teachers or peers.
At Dearborn, we focus on creating an environment that gives students confidence about their math skills. Math anxiety is far more common but no less debilitating than more well known disabilities such as dyscalculia (more below), but it can be overcome.
Our goal is for all our students to be working at grade-level or above in mathematics while they also learn to enjoy math.
To meet students’ individual needs, we organize math into small groups based on ability and learning style. In math, there are no more than six students in a group and more typically just two or three. We hold math classes five times a week for 40 minutes and give most students math homework four times a week.
We know that some students learn more successfully when we use real life examples, while others do better when we focus on concepts, so we adapt our teaching methods to meet student needs. You'll find, for example, manipulatives, board games, computer programs, data collection projects, and hands on activities are more common than worksheets and memorization in many of our groups. Advanced students who enjoy math will have many opportunities to progress beyond grade level and explore more challenging math content.
Math topics range from solidifying basic computation to mastering fractions, decimals, and percents to learning various levels of geometry, probability, statistics, and algebra, depending on the student. To help students master the required content, we use a variety of techniques and materials from computer programs to practice and review along with standard texts, manipulatives, and skill-building activities.
Our aim is to help students generate successful problem solving approaches, learn how to apply what they are learning, and build solid critical thinking skills.
Students with Dyscalculia
Dyscalulia is a specific learning disability. It includes difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, learning math facts, and a number of other related symptoms. It can result from a brain injury or it may be genetic or developmental in origin. Estimates of the prevalence of dyscalculia range between 3 and 6 percent of the population. Some studies suggest that children with dyslexia are more likely to have dyscalculia than the general population.
At Dearborn, students who are struggling with math can be assessed to determine the nature of their disability. Our staff, working closely with each students IEP team, will design an appropriate course of action. The Dearborn staff is experienced in teaching children with dyscalculia and can help them make significant progress.
Essential to Learning
Math literacy and math confidence are essential to learning. As students advance through the grades, we work to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge they need to successfully meet the graduation requirements and to use math thoughtfully and effectively in their future learning and in their lives outside of school.