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Encouraging girls in math and science

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Replies to: Encouraging girls in math and science

  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "Maybe, but that doesn't mean they have to like it or make it their career"
    -Agree with this one. Just as some do not like writing while others do not appreciate poetry and third group does not like reading at all (including me and my kids). Liking it is one thing, using it is another. People who do not like to read, are still reading out of necessity, people who do not like to write, are still writing. You do not need to like math (which is nothing but a universal language) to use it. And no UG student is required to know this language called math at the genius level, all you need a very elementary level of it. No special aptitude or interest is required for this level, just a good instruction, the instruction of the same level as an English instruction. And that part is totally missing, non-existant with even top caliber students realize in many cases that if they want to be successful in engineering program, then they better pursue additional math instructions (on their own on-line, thru tutoring, whatever). What I am saying is that absolutely every single HS graduate from every singlke HS in a country should be able to puruse engineering in college if they desire to do so, the HS should provdie sufficient math background for this goal, no matter what HS they went to, their gender or race. It is not a dream by any streatch, it is a reality in many countries, including some third world country, but it is not a reality in the USA. Here you have to have some special talent, aptitude, call it whatever. Wrong, you do not!!! All you need is correct program and an average teacher who is capapble of teaching this program.
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  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 6951 replies143 threads Senior Member
    MiamiDAP wrote:
    All you need is correct program and an average teacher who is capable of teaching this program.
    I think you also need a cultural attitude where saying "I'm not good at math" or "I can't do math" would be looked at with the same reaction we would give someone who said "I'm not good at reading" or "I can't read". We tend to be very accepting of innumeracy in this country and I hear people saying these things all the time. How many times on these very forums?
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2763 replies83 threads Senior Member
    Sylvan8798 I agree! I have started that cultural change in a small way by not allowing "girls are not good at math" attitudes at home. My DS and DD are in the same accelerated math program. Also I have an agreement with the mothers of some of my DD's friends to discourage that attitude whenever we hear it. We are entering those critical JH years and know we must be especially encouraging now.
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I completely disagree with "I think you also need a cultural attitude where saying "I'm not good at math" "
    -Yes, you need that in some countries where they actually teach a bit higher than very elementary math that is taught in k - 12 in the USA. You do not need this for getting all As in ALL math classes in the american k -12. All you need is to do you homework. That is exactly what told my kids and grandkids when they were 5 y o. I just told them, if you want an A in any class in the amrican k - 12, just do your homework. Mission was accomplished for my D. all thru graduating from college actually. So far so good for 13 -15 y o grandkids. Just talk to my grandS few days ago. That is exactly what he said, I am just doing my homework. No aptitude, talent or genius, not in this school, maybe somewhere else, here the level is shamefully low and does not prepare them for college at all, even the best and so called the most rigorous private HSs do not do it.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78473 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    Miami, you can encourage women in math and science without dissing the schools. If you thought opportunities were so awful, why didn't you just move back to the countries that offer better schooling?
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4610 replies168 threads Senior Member
    @MiamiDAP "here the level is shamefully low and does not prepare them for college at all, even the best and so called the most rigorous private HSs do not do it."

    This may be true in many schools, but the best students at the most rigorous public and private high schools really require their students to perform at a very high level.

    At many of these high schools, the homework load for top students is probably 25 hours per week and the classes are on a curve. They are put under a lot of pressure. then they need to have ECs, community service, and prepare for standardized tests. They have to be highly motivated, and have a level of ability. It is incredible what is expected of these kids who gain admission to top colleges with no hook. Many of them know more at the end of high school than a typical student will know by the end of college.






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  • jym626jym626 57793 replies3029 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2014
    The level of math needed to complete HS and the level of math needed to succeed in engineering are not the same. For example, for a student to succeed in engineering, they will need to complete and understand calculus. This is not a HS graduation requirement.

    Engineering is hard, and to succeed one must have an interest, skill and ability to learn and understand this higher level math. I like art, but I am terrible at it.Cant draw a straight line with a ruler. No degree of training, lessons, etc is going to turn me into an accomplished artist. There are some underlying innate abilities that come into play. Its not as simple as "have a good teacher".
    edited July 2014
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  • thumper1thumper1 78473 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    My DD successfully got an engineering degree and never took calculus in high school. She took calculus and a number of other higher level math courses with great understanding in college.

    Her HS offered many higher level courses in math but we declined to accelerate her in math.

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  • kiddiekiddie 3879 replies242 threads Senior Member
  • mathmommathmom 33220 replies163 threads Senior Member
    @jym626, you might be surprised at what you could learn. I took a basic drawing class in college with a guy who was brilliant. He could teach anyone to draw. His first and last assignments each semester were self-portraits and the improvement among those with what he called "unpracticed hands" were phenomenal. I learned a lot from him too.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 28056 replies208 threads Senior Member
    I think you also need a cultural attitude where saying "I'm not good at math" or "I can't do math" would be looked at with the same reaction we would give someone who said "I'm not good at reading" or "I can't read". We tend to be very accepting of innumeracy in this country and I hear people saying these things all the time. How many times on these very forums?

    Exactly. High schools generally require four years of reading/eng. for graduation, but why not four years of math?

    Although I've noticed the trend to be changing, but how many times on cc do we see a parent (ahem, usually a mom), proclaim, 'I was not good in math and did fine, and my middle school D doesn't like math, so why should she track on to precalc/calc'?????
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4610 replies168 threads Senior Member
    I think that a lot of the problem is caused by a general belief among americans that math has more to do with natural ability than with practice and effort, so the first time someone says it is hard they decide that person does not have "the ability."

    Well intended parents and elementary teachers start saying things like, "It's okay you just aren't good at math, I wasn't either" which causes the student to stop trying. This is true for girls and boys, but in my experience, parents and teachers are quicker to say this to a girl than a boy. Probably because at some level, they believe that "Girls are good at reading and boys are good at math." (There are a lot of Elementary Education teaches who believe that they are not good at math).

    However, When when a boy is weak in reading, no one says, "Don't worry about it." They increase the focus on it and make sure that the child becomes proficient, as they should. This is less likely to happen with math.

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  • tpcrd66tpcrd66 411 replies29 threads Member
    @GMTplus7, Could you kindly give me an example of some non-life science majors? Thanks!
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  • wis75wis75 14393 replies65 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2014
    Not the above poster but I researched posts on this thread by that poster. Look at any major school's list of engineering majors. Then look at the list of majors in other schools/colleges of the U. There's chemistry (my favorite- why I and other women friends from college chose it) and physics, astronomy and others. Add math, statistics and computer science. It is so easy to come up with non biological science fields.
    edited July 2014
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  • CanuckguyCanuckguy 1208 replies0 threads Senior Member
    " High schools generally require four years of reading/eng. for graduation, but why not four years of math?"

    Here is part of the Rede Lecture, delivered by C P Snow in 1959:

    "A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?

    I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question — such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? — not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had."

    Things have not really changed. I wonder what Lord Snow would say now...
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  • sorghumsorghum 3657 replies116 threads Senior Member
    I wonder what Lord Snow would say now...

    To be pedantic, seemingly he was titled Baron Snow, and according to Wiki "Lord Snow" is the third episode of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones.
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  • CanuckguyCanuckguy 1208 replies0 threads Senior Member
    Of course. I stand corrected.
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