Practice is Needed in Math

BY VIC ODARVE

To practice is to learn. That is learning by doing! And so is mathematics! The same principle can be applied to pass the course in mathematics! An old adage “Practice makes perfect” holds true. After the classroom illustrative examples solved step by step by the teacher, students must strive hard at home to practice solving by themselves with the aid of the notes. Notes will be put aside only if their confidence is building up and that they can do it by themselves. Teachers often told the students “Don’t stop practice until you can perfect it!” That’s it!

After Math practice go outside and relax. Join the Christmas merrymaking with your old folks at home.

After the Math practice, go outside and relax. Join the Christmas merrymaking with your old folks at home.

 Practice working out the solution after classroom can be difficult to some students. But if they continue working on the same examples, chances are they can do it perfectly. It can be developed to a habit later. It is often suggested to read and rework the exercises before going to bed and will be refreshed at early morning before going to school.

Difficult exercises in mathematics can be visualized and understood easier by breaking down to its simplest forms. The picture looks the same thing for the babies. Solid foods are broken down to its small pieces before taking it whole. But the visualization and better understanding can be achieved only by constant practice. This is the way of life …being an engineering student. An actual practice works best in mathematics because solution involves several processes before getting into its final form. It’s algorithm. The more you practice the more you

Engineering students use MS Excel as practice in solving Engineering mathematics at Madonna University, Elele campus, Nigeria

Engineering students use MS Excel as practice in solving Engineering mathematics at Madonna University, Elele campus, Nigeria

understand why the steps are being done. If done habitually you can explore more techniques and better approaches on what to do with the mathematical exercises or problems. The more you discover its secrets, the more you love mathematics. One will find this learning method quite fascinating just like wormholes…believed to exist in our planet and were used by alien to travel to distant universes!

Teachers often told engineering students to do constant practice in solving mathematical exercises or problems whatever written on the classroom. These way teachers are molding students to create strong study habits. That is actual practice or hands on! But sometimes students feel uncomfortable when teachers press them to do more practice at home. There were times when teachers reminded students to do constant practice, they could see their eyebrows rose up and their hairs also rose at their backs. It’s something eerie!  Teachers know best that by building this habit they are building the students character and lifestyle. Teachers also want to create the student’s landscape that they are supposed to live in! These teachers are really working hard to help weak learners and by doing so they feel happy to give the students the best education possible! It is happiness in giving your best to the profession you are in. The great teacher Saint Luke who traveled far and wide with Saint Paul worked hard in an early expansion of the Christian church. Thus, he once said,

“In every way I have shown you that by so working hard one must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving.’””- Acts 20, 35

This is the strategy that works. In all human endeavor, practice makes perfect!

 

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My Math Visitor

By Vic Odarve

Except for private institutions, the country’s federal state universities and colleges were plagued with teachers’ union strike. Students stayed at their homes waiting for trouble to settle and resume their classes afterward. But one student refused to stop her schooling!

So I am lucky to teach in one of the private universities. No teachers’ union strike!

Engineering Mathematics 1

Engineering Mathematics 1

In one of my visit to the university library to read some local newspaper, one of the students approached and requested me to have some explanation on the math solutions previously discussed in the classroom. “Okay, what part of the topic?” I told her. She opened her notes and showed the steps where she got the problems and I did the explanation and discussion. Satisfied, she said, “Thank you, Sir, I understand already”, she said. Then I said,” How was the result of your last quiz?” “I got 90 % score, Sir”, she smiled. “Good, and on next quiz you must get a perfect score”, I replied. Then she slowly walked quietly and slip away. I paid little attention. She got a good score. So nothing to worry!  She may just serious enough and want to do more on her study every day.

Family tour-Chocolate hills,Philippines

Family tour-Chocolate hills, Philippines

Then, the next quiz came. Only 5 out of 234 students in a class got a perfect score. And she was one of them!

It was then that I gave her an attention. I noticed that during the class session, she sat at the end of the last row of the seats in a packed and overcrowded room. She listened intently and focused to my discussion. No friend, no talking even on her seatmates as if she knew none of her classmates! “She must be too shy”, I guessed.

The semester math course was about to finish. I gave the final quiz before the final exam. “This would be the last quiz”, I told the students. Then what was the result? She got perfect score again! She had done it! “She is a good performing student”, I told myself.

The next meeting I returned the quiz scripts. She was absent. For almost two weeks, I could no longer see her. Then I inquired the course representative and her classmates what happened to this girl. To my surprise, none of her classmates knew her. She vanished and I received no word from her and her whereabouts! I am completely blank!

After two weeks my phone rang. The girl informed me that she returned to her school at the federal university since the teachers’ strike was over. She thanked and told me that she learned and enjoyed math during her stint in my class. It was then I knew that she was my math- visitor. She was not my student! She refused to stop schooling! Then she returned to where she belonged!