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**hamani3****Member**- Registered: 2014-01-02
- Posts: 3

I am a teacher and advisor in an Intensive English Program at a major university on the East Coast of the USA. I found that many of my students were not passing standardized college entrance exams (SAT, GRE, GMAT) because, while they may have been academically qualified, they did not have preparation in the terminology the math sections require. So I created a math vocab course last semester to help fill in the gaps. I have run into some challenges, some teaching-based (appropriate textbooks/resources) and some student-based (language learners may not have the same math background).

I look forward to connecting with others in similar situations (if you are out there!) and with those who may have ideas that will help me strengthen this class for the coming semesters.

Thanks!

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**bob bundy****Moderator**- Registered: 2010-06-20
- Posts: 7,548

hello hamani3

**Welcome to the forum.**

Bob

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 103,717

Hi hamani3;

Vocab is nice but becoming steeped up in the jargon is not what is essential. That is sort of like knowing the difference between a predicate nominative and an object noun. Or maybe when to use whom over who and not being able to write a book or a poem or even speak effectively. Out here in the real world problem solving skills are what is required. Perhaps you should start to lean over in that direction.

Some of the kids that come in here complain that there teachers do not show them how. That needs to be rectified and quickly.

SAT, GRE, GMAT are not the end of line but just the beginning. Many of the kids are unable to function when they get out of school, yes even if they got good grades on those three. A friend of mine was horrified when she applied for a job and found that the interrogator was not at all interested in her academic achievements, instead he began to ask her how she would solve this and that. What she would do if this happened or that. He wanted answers and methods for the problems. When she froze up, unable to think on that level, she was politely dismissed and the next applicant was called in. Students need to be prepared for jobs in the real world.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.**

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**ganesh****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 20,759

Hi hamani3,

**Welcome to the forum!**

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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**ShivamS****Member**- Registered: 2011-02-07
- Posts: 3,648

Welcome, hamani3!

bobbym, with the SAT, I agree. But with the GRE, it's quite different. It actually tests your problem solving and reasoning abilities rather then rote computation and memorization.

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 103,717

Hi ShivamS;

Then things have changed for the better already and I am a little dated. The GRE used to emphasize abstract thinking.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.**

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**anonimnystefy****Real Member**- From: Harlan's World
- Registered: 2011-05-23
- Posts: 16,015

Hi hamani3

Welcome to the forum!

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

The knowledge of some things as a function of age is a delta function.

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**hamani3****Member**- Registered: 2014-01-02
- Posts: 3

Thanks for the (mostly) warm welcome! I appreciate the thoughts, bobbym, and agree that problem solving skills are indeed in demand and marketable. Let me re-emphasize my job and it's purpose: I am not a math teacher. I am a language teacher who teaches the language of math to language learners who are already academically qualified for degree programs here at my institution. My class is called "Let's Talk about Mathematics." It is housed in the English Language Institute at the university, not in the math unit. My apologies for simplifying its content by calling it a vocabulary class, as this apparently gave an inaccurate picture of the course objectives.

I respectfully submit that your comparison ("That is sort of like knowing the difference between a predicate nominative and an object noun") is faulty, in that the goal of a language teacher is a student's ability to communicate, not their ability to name the parts of speech or diagram a sentence perfectly. Language teaching is nothing like the English classes we may have been subjected to in our grammar school years.

As for the SAT/GRE/GMAT discussion, the fact remains that applicants to degree programs must achieve certain scores on these tests in order to be considered for admission. Whether I agree with the test or the content or purpose of the test or how it was written/administered/interpreted is irrelevant to my purpose. In serving my students in an advisory capacity, I noticed that they were not doing as well on the math section as we would expect. These are NOT 17 year old high school kids. Some are professional educators with graduate degrees from universities in their home countries in accounting or engineering or math. Others are 20-22 year olds who have come to us to prepare for undergraduate studies. They are held to the same academic standards as any applicant to the university here, but they did not have the benefit of learning how we use language when "doing" math.

That said, here is a real-world example. I wrote a list of numbers on the board and told the students these are the scores from a recent exam. I asked them, "What is the mean of these scores?" After a pause, one student (who is a professor of statistics in her home country and is planning to pursue her PhD here), raised her hand and said, "It means 4 students got As, 8 students earned Bs, 7 students got Cs, and 5 students did not pass the exam."

Can you define "absolute value" by looking up "absolute" and "value" in a translator, even if you know what "absolute value" means in your native language? Search for "right triangle" in a translator and see if you get the geometric definition. If I told you the word for "parallelogram" in Thai, could you draw one? A language learner may know what "real," "rational," and "imaginary" mean in everyday (or, "real world," as you prefer to put it) English, but we know that they have very specific meanings in math, and knowing this meaning can make a huge difference when reading a math problem.

So my focus is to expose students to the many uses of math language (yes, including specific vocabulary!) that they might find on a standardized test.

I hope this clarifies my purpose. Thank you for any additional support/ideas you may have.

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**ShivamS****Member**- Registered: 2011-02-07
- Posts: 3,648

hamani3, the GREs are not required for admission to graduate schools in most schools here in the US. But yes, math vocabulary is important, however it is not clear. What Euclid called a line, we now call it a line segment. There are several such cases where there is no worldwide consensus about which word represents what.

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**hamani3****Member**- Registered: 2014-01-02
- Posts: 3

Thank you for your comment, ShivamS. The GREs are required for almost all of the grad programs here at this US university, so this is why I mention this exam at all. My students want to apply to this university; I saw a learning gap and I am working to fill it. Isn't that what teachers do?

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**saurabhkumarpandey504@gma****Member**- Registered: 2014-01-20
- Posts: 1

Hello everyone, i am new here. My name is saurabh pandey belong to india. I m very weak in math so i joined you for learn something better. I hope you'll help me. Thanks........

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 103,717

Hi saurabh pandey;

Welcome to the forum.

You might want to not use your email address as your username. This could be a security problem. Let me know if you want to change it and I will.

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.**

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**ganesh****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 20,759

Hi saurabh kumar pandey,

**Welcome to the forum!**

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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**Ronaphy Olga****Member**- Registered: 2014-03-13
- Posts: 4

hi i'm new here, and I would like to know more about maths. I'm good at learning maths faster, and I would like to learn more.

The mathematics standard in my country is low, and I'm trying to help myself out by joining the forum.

Thank you.

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**bobbym****Administrator**- From: Bumpkinland
- Registered: 2009-04-12
- Posts: 103,717

Hi;

Welcome to the forum. What country?

**In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.****If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.**

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**ShivamS****Member**- Registered: 2011-02-07
- Posts: 3,648

Welcome to the forum Ronaphy Olga!

Math standard until university is pretty weak everywhere.

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**Ronaphy Olga****Member**- Registered: 2014-03-13
- Posts: 4

I am from Papua New Guinea.

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**ganesh****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 20,759

Hi Ronaphy Olga,

**Welcome to the forum!**

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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**BAM****Guest**

Greetings all I'm new here . I would like to strengthen some areas and close some gaps I have ... Hope I can join in contributing information and further develop my communications

**ShivamS****Member**- Registered: 2011-02-07
- Posts: 3,648

Welcome to the forum!

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**ganesh****Moderator**- Registered: 2005-06-28
- Posts: 20,759

Hi BAM,

**Welcome to the forum!**

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

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