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Peer Leader Training in Mathematics Galib F.

MEDU 2901 Section 694 10 / 15 / 2017

Assignment No. 004

When a student struggles with a particular problem, I do my best to provide the necessary
information to solve for the requested values (as stated in the problem). I start of by breaking
down the problem with the student and reading each line, while underlining key details
simultaneously. Then, I ask the student to form a T- Chart, which consists of two columns. On
the left-hand side, the student writes down the given information, and information that he/she
knows. Meanwhile, on the right-hand side the student writes down the quantities or values that
are unknown. This assists, in providing a less-intimidating visualization of the problem. After
constructing, the T-Chart students usually identify the necessary steps they need to perform to
determine the unknown values. However, in cases, where students still experience confusion,
the underlying cause is typically the lack of conceptual understanding or data. During these
scenarios, I would provide a brief explanation of the concept(s), that the question requires an
understanding of, and refer to the chapters/pages they could look into for further details. If the
student requests a demonstration of how one would solve such a problem, I would display the
procedure one would execute for a similar problem with different quantitative parameters.
When a student requests verification, in regards to the validity of their answer, I do my
best to avoid answering directly with a yes or no. Rather, I lead them to perform self-
verification. I begin with, retracing, where the student explains their process of how they
resulted in their conclusion (from the beginning). (If there were a misinterpretation of the
problem or error they performed, which may be operational or algebraic, I would usually ask
them whether they were sure, that said issue was a valid execution. This encourages the student
to reevaluate their logic and assists them in observing the potential flaw that lead to the error.)
After, retracing the steps he/she took, (assuming the process was valid and resulted in no error), I
would ask the student to utilize the retrieved answer and input the value to verify whether the
result was compatible with the given parameters. Additionally, I would ask the student to verify
whether his/her peers reached the same conclusion. This would lead to the exchange of
procedural actions the students performed in efforts to solve the problem, which is a
characteristic prevalent in the norming stage of groups. Undergoing these series of steps with
student, clarifies the problem and can be used to avoid questions and statements such as Why is
this not the correct answer? or I cannot find my mistake.
Peer Leader Training in Mathematics Galib F. Rahman
MEDU 2901 Section 694 10 / 15 / 2017

Journal No. 003

One of the problems many students struggled with in the workshop was determining the
resistance values of two resistors given the total resistance, relationship between the resistors,
and a diagram. When one student confronted me for assistance, I demonstrated that they could
solve for one of the resistive values using an algebraic substitution and therefore find both
resistor values. Eventually, as other students advanced towards said question, they too
experienced some confusion. As opposed to asking me directly for help, they asked each other
for assistance in how to approach the problem. The students who were successful in solving the
problem guided those who did not by demonstration of their procedure on the white-board,
effectively answering questions other students had. This interaction amongst the students
increased communications in regards to the exchange of different processes they undertook to
solve said problem.
As opposed to using Pair Problem Solving, I decided to have each student work with
every other member to solve the circuit problems, as a group (Group Problem Solving). Thus, the
group was able to solve each problem as a cohesive unit as opposed to having individual pairs
within. I decided to take this approach, due to the overall momentum that took place in the
session. The members were comfortable in working with one another, and were successful in
sharing their various techniques and approaches. I do believe, Pair Problem Solving has great
potential and is an effective tool to promote communications between individual students,
especially when there are those that are hesitant in participating. It helps students in learning how
to work with one another, however, it is limiting when the group members are capable of
working effectively together.