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Creating a non-threatening atmosphere in the classroom 2. Breaking concepts into manageable bits 3. Pre-teaching of vocabulary and spelling

How to correct wrongly pronounced words? Questioning is a technique used in nearly every lesson. Sometimes students have to give answers orally, and often they mispronounce the words. As teachers, we have to remind ourselves to correct the students pronunciation when necessary. However, time constraints make it impossible for a mathematics teacher to correct every mispronounced word, and so the teacher can focus on a few wrongly pronounced words, which can be corrected in an amusing way. For example, the word eight is always pronounced as egg. If a student makes this mistake, the teacher could draw an egg on the blackboard and ask if that is the answer. That student will probably laugh and pronounce the word slowly and carefully. Of course, he will pronounce more correctly. Every time another student makes the same mistake, the other students, remembering the incident, will give him hints about the correct pronunciation. A humorous way of correcting wrong pronunciation is useful but this method can only be used if the teacher-student relationship is good, so the student will not feel that he is being laughed at. Marking Exercise Books Marking exercise books is a very convenient way of correcting wrong spelling, even though it may take the teacher quite a lot of time to do this every year. The teacher corrects words like hight and heigth (which should be height) and lenght(which should be length) as well as wrong grammatical patterns such as Let is(which should be Let be). In the tradition of mathematics assessment, marks will not be deducted because of grammatical errors or wrong spelling of unimportant words; we simply correct the mistakes directly in the exercise books. Even though we are not sure whether this is very effective, pre-teaching of vocabulary and spelling is good practice. [See Editors note.] Classroom Teaching In learning the topic Quadratic Equations, it is very common that students cannot differentiate between the words factorize and solve. Look closely at the following: a) Factorize x2 3x + 2 b) Solve x2 3x + 2 = 0 What is the difference between a) and b)? The teacher can introduce the relationship between the words factorize and factor. As

factorize originates from factor, the teacher can use 24 = 2 2 2 3 which shows the product of prime factors of 24 to illustrate that the meaning of factorize is to write as the product of something. Finally, the teacher can conclude: If we are asked to factorize x2 3x + 2, we have to express it as: x2 3x + 2 = (x 1)(x 2) Similarly, the teacher can alert students to the relationship of the words solve and solution. As solve is the verb of solution, the teacher can explain finding the answers means to solve. Finally, the teacher can conclude that if we are asked to solve x2 3x + 2 = 0 we have to give the following: x2 3x + 2 = 0 (x 1)(x 2) = 0 x = 1 or x = 2 Quite simply, if you solve something you give a solution i.e. in Maths, you will find the value of x (the unknown). K.K. Wong Mathematics teacher, Carmel Secondary School

Editors note: Another way of helping students learn spelling in Mathematics is to get them to correct the spelling errors themselves.

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