A stitch in time !!

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“A stitch in time saves nine”, we all are aware of this proverb and as a Maths teacher I realised that it was very common for my students to ‘drop stitches’, meaning they would forget or not have deep understanding of the concepts covered previously, which would make it difficult for them to understand the next concept. An example which quickly comes to my mind is that of students not understanding the basic need to calculate LCM or forgetting the process for the same and this hampering their ability to successfully attempt the topic ‘Addition of unlike fractions’ in Grade 5 or so.

Let us take a look at the difference between a ‘running stitch’ and ‘back stitch’. ‘Running stitch’, which is defined by the Wikipedia — stitches which are used in hand-sewing and tailoring to sew basic seams, in hand patchwork to assemble pieces, and in quilting to hold the fabric layers and batting or wadding in place.

On the other hand ‘back stitch is defined as a stitch used as a hand-sewing utility stitch to attach definitively and strongly two pieces of fabric together.

So, I asked this question to myself that am I indulging in ‘running stitch’ or ‘back stitch’ in my Maths sessions.
 All Maths teachers know that constant recap of the previous concepts is extremely important for the students to become competent in this subject. The problem arises when we assume that ALL the students either remember or have thoroughly understood the previous concepts. The question here is how many of us regularly ensure in ‘back stitch’ to ensure the smooth flow of learning.
 One technique which helped my students was always to begin a Maths session with a five minute recap-test whenever required. The process can become more useful if we include questions from previous 2 to 3 concepts covered and giving questions linking the concepts. Here I can think of an example of combining area and Algebra as given in the image below –

The ‘high achievers group of students’ in the class would find these sessions repetitive or boring but largely they are very useful. So, though few students may not like the ‘Daily Practice sessions in Mindspark‘, I would say they are too young to have the wisdom to understand its importance. So, I say that the ‘Daily Practice sessions’ in Mindspark are required as they serve the purpose of ‘back stitching’.

By Ranjani Mitra — Snr Educational Specialist (Memeber of Mindspark Development Team)

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Originally published at blog.ei-india.com on February 19, 2016.

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