# TAG: language

#### The Operation Tower

I don’t like BODMAS/BEDMAS/PEMDAS/GEMS/GEMA and all of the variations on this theme. I much prefer to use something else, which I have this week decided to call “The Operation Tower”.

In case you haven’t heard of BODMAS/BEDMAS/PEMDAS/GEMS/GEMA, then you should know they are various acronyms designed to help students remember the order of operations that mathematics […]

| Tagged , |

#### Mr Johnson’s Rainbow

I love reading and writing, and the way that people use words to express ideas fascinates me. So it is no surprise that when I was in Year 12, I studied the highest level of English available. My English teacher was called Mr Johnson and I hated him. (It wasn’t really, Mr Johnson — I’ve […]

Posted in Being a good teacher | Tagged , |

#### Brackets

I had a meeting with an international student in the MLC on Friday who has having a whole lot of language issues in her maths class.
She was from the USA.
Yes, the USA. Her problem wasn’t the everyday English; it was with the different terminologies for mathematical things here compared to her experience where she comes […]

| Tagged |

#### Mansplaining

A few months ago, I learned a new word: “mansplaining”. You may have heard it before, but I never had until this year.
The general idea is that very often, a man will explain something to a woman in a way that seems to be based on the assumption that the woman is incapable of understanding […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged |

#### Things not sides

When doing algebra and solving equations, there is this move we often make which is usually called “doing the same thing to both sides”. For many people it is their fundamental rule of algebra. (It’s not mine, but that’s a discussion for another day.) You use it when solving an equation like this:
4x-3=13
4x-3 + 3 […]

| Tagged , |

#### Complex is not the same as complicated

The Complex Numbers are unfortunately named. Most people take the word complex to mean “difficult to understand”, so the very name we give this family of numbers sets students up to think it’s going to be a lot of hard work to understand them. This is sad, because they really are very very cool and […]

| Tagged |

#### Mathematical collocations

There is a phrase people use when talking about statistics that really bugs me. It’s “non-parametric data”. I see it all the time in statistical teaching materials and I hate it because I know what they mean, but what they’ve said is simply wrong. Whoever writes this phrase has a tenuous grasp of what the […]

#### Quick Iggle Piggle! Catch Makka Pakka’s Og-Pog before it hits the Ninky Nonk!

The CLPD head administrator Cathy told me a story the other day about an experience she had on the train: She was sitting opposite a pair of students, and one was helping the other prepare for a test. The first student was reading out words from a stack of cards and the second was trying […]

Posted in How people learn (or don't) | Tagged , |

#### Very Unique

I often hear that the phrase “very unique” is not a correct thing to say. The explanation is that the word unique means “there is nothing else like it” and as such is already an absolute. So there’s no grades of unique: something is either unique or it’s not — there is nothing else like […]

Posted in Being a good teacher | Tagged |