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  #81  
Old 18.06.2012, 13:39
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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CYT is transition cycle, the first time they have different teachers for different subjects.

To my surprise, teachers often teach many subjects -- like math, physics and informatics -- and while it was mentioned on this thread that teachers in Vaud have to have a master degree, I am not sure that multisubject teachers have "real" EPFL-quality degrees in all the subjects they are teaching. I would guess that they need master in education, and the rest is specialization. If someone knows more about it, please elaborate.

The situation I've described (no intuition supplied for math) happened in 3-4 grades, i.e. primary school with single teacher all the time. Then I explained it for myself that the teacher had many other problems with weaker pupils, and simply did not have time to get deeper. Now in the 5th grade there are even more "do-it-by-the-rule" exercises, but still no intuition. If it continues the same way to the end, the result will be exactly students I coach - who are absolutely non-confident with math because they never understood it and by now have forgotten all the rules.

KTZV
CYT requires a Bachelor in Education Sciences. Teaching grades 7-9 and 10-13 requires a Masters in whatever you teach (plus the specialised teaching diploma of two years).

You cannot evaluate the end-result only based on a number of students you coach. For every one of them there may be several others that have no issues at all.

No teaching method is perfect.
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  #82  
Old 18.06.2012, 14:37
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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CYT is transition cycle, the first time they have different teachers for different subjects.

To my surprise, teachers often teach many subjects -- like math, physics and informatics
As is the case in the US, at least when I was a kid.

First time I had more than one teacher was in 6th grade.

Tom
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  #83  
Old 18.06.2012, 14:44
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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I still find it often easier to derive anew then to try to recall
Indeed.

A bunch of years ago, my daughter needed some help with solid geometry, and I couldn't remember the formula for the volume of a cone (and was too lazy to search on the internet), so I derived it by integration.

Tom
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  #84  
Old 18.06.2012, 15:09
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

If you belive the PISA-test, then mathematical education is intact quite good in Switzerland:

I quote the Executive summery of the 2006-PISA test (page 51f):
Quote:
In order to perform the hardest mathematics tasks in PISA, students must put together complex
elements of a question, use reflection and creativity to solve unfamiliar problems and engage
in some form of argument, often in the form of an explanation. Only 13% of students were
rated at the top two proficiency levels, Levels 5 and 6 in PISA 2006.

The highest percentage of students at Levels 5 and 6 were found in Korea (27%) and the
partner Chinese Taipei (32%). Finland, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands all had
more than 20% of students at these top levels (Table 6.2a).
With the exception of Mexico and Turkey, at least 5% of students in each OECD country
reached Level 5 or 6 (Table 6.2a).

[...]

Finland and Korea, and the partners Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong-China, outperformed
all other countries (Table 6.2c).
Other countries with mean performances significantly above the OECD average were the
Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Belgium, Australia, Denmark,
the Czech Republic, Iceland and Austria, and the partner countries/economies Macao-
China, Liechtenstein, Estonia, and Slovenia (Table 6.2c).

www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/15/13/39725224.pdf
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  #85  
Old 18.06.2012, 15:40
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

As a teacher who has taught children and adults from all over the world - I think it is essential to find out about the methods used in the student's country - and also what the exams require and how they are marked. Personally I believe that the way we teach foreign language GCSE's (exams at 16 in UK) and A'Levels (exams at 18 for Uni entrance) is so much better than the way is it done in most other European Countries (with equal emphasis on all skills, not just written- and where students are expected to be able to discuss and debate, orally and in writing, many aspects of the political/cultural/social of the country/ies relating to a language- in the UK- versus mainly written academic work and classical literature in Europe.

However, there is no point in me deciding the best method of teaching, and lead my students to failure in their exams. That would be totally irresponsible. So I always try to include practical, oral and fun elements into lessons- and yet firmly keeping in mind the tasks/skills required for them to succeed. Of course if I am asked to teach for communication and not leading to exam, this is a very different matter.

Kutuzof - it is important that you find out the methodology used and what is required in the exams here - so that you can adapt the way to do things and not cause more confusion for your students. If they ask for coaching it is probably because they have difficulties- so introducing new methods, however excellent or even 'better' is not going to help.

Last edited by Odile; 18.06.2012 at 19:01.
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  #86  
Old 18.06.2012, 17:32
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

I am not a math teacher, but do tutor my 3 kids in math as needed. I find flexibility with teaching methods essential if a student is "stuck". We've used all kinds of Internet resources to supplement, and the oldest is able to find what works best for her now. My youngest is able to do better in math because he is exposed to it both how it is taught here and in the US.
And by the way, having kids go through the IGCSE foreign language exams, they are laughable compared to the Swiss expectations for 12-13 year olds, at least in French.
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Old 18.06.2012, 17:42
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

Odile, I do not coach math for Matura. I prefer to teach Finance for CFA, FRM, CAIA, etc. Many people come without necessary math skills needed to pass the exam. I first have to teach them math (I have degrees in both), but of course only math that is relevant for the exams.

The question I asked in the beginning of this thread stems from my experience with a few Swiss students that I had (all of them graduates from a Uni) and some concern I have for my own kids who are now starting secondary schooling here.

KTZV
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  #88  
Old 18.06.2012, 17:50
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

Are your children starting in an international school or state?
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  #89  
Old 18.06.2012, 18:07
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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Odile, I do not coach math for Matura. I prefer to teach Finance for CFA, FRM, CAIA, etc. Many people come without necessary math skills needed to pass the exam. I first have to teach them math (I have degrees in both), but of course only math that is relevant for the exams.

The question I asked in the beginning of this thread stems from my experience with a few Swiss students that I had (all of them graduates from a Uni) and some concern I have for my own kids who are now starting secondary schooling here.

KTZV
If you are tutoring economics students it is no wonder that they are rubbish at maths. You have to realise, that economics is thought to be "easy" (compared to engineering or science) and on the same time offering good career options. Thus it attracts many students who actually do not know what they want to study, and then decide for economics, because they perceive it as an easy options. Often these are the same students who did only the absolute minimum for passing the matura, and so might never have bothered learning mathematics. On the same time many of them do not realise, how much maths is used in economics.

With this post I do not wish to generalise. There are of course some very bright people studying economics, whose mathematical abilities are excellent, but students that excel in maths are much more likely to study science or engineering then economics.
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  #90  
Old 18.06.2012, 18:25
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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versus mainly written academic work and classical literature in Europe.
I only know France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, and none of them correspond to your description of european teaching. You must have referred to other countries.
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Old 18.06.2012, 18:49
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

@Tuborg They are in 5th and 3rd grade, both went through primary school here, both public.

@Laertes Yes, I know, among people who needed Math coaching before Finance only one had advanced math class in gymnaise, and he was among the worst in his the advanced class. The rest were taking usual (not advanced) math, but there they claimed to be the best then ;-) Anyway, they all made it through Unis /HEC and most of them work either in banks or insurance companies in managerial track positions.

Economics students from HEC usually know math better -- there is a lot of math in economics, and they would not pass the first semester finals with the math level I see sometimes. So the ones who take economics because they think it is easy, get out of Uni in the first year. And indeed, AFAIK the rate of attrition is very high in econ. department.

KTZV

Last edited by Kutuzov; 18.06.2012 at 18:59.
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Old 18.06.2012, 19:07
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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I only know France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, and none of them correspond to your description of european teaching. You must have referred to other countries.
Are you saying that a high level of oral/aural ability and debating skills are on par with written work in France or Switzerland, in final EXAMS?
What is the % of the mark for oral/aural skills for the Bac currently in France? I coach both French and Swiss students- and oral/aural is practically non-existent in their programme.

Last edited by Odile; 18.06.2012 at 20:09.
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  #93  
Old 18.06.2012, 19:17
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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@Tuborg They are in 5th and 3rd grade, both went through primary school here, both public.

@Laertes Yes, I know, among people who needed Math coaching before Finance only one had advanced math class in gymnaise, and he was among the worst in his the advanced class. The rest were taking usual (not advanced) math, but there they claimed to be the best then ;-) Anyway, they all made it through Unis /HEC and most of them work either in banks or insurance companies in managerial track positions.

Economics students from HEC usually know math better -- there is a lot of math in economics, and they would not pass the first semester finals with the math level I see sometimes. So the ones who take economics because they think it is easy, get out of Uni in the first year. And indeed, AFAIK the rate of attrition is very high in econ. department.

KTZV
Ah, there's an assumption which I am immediately going to dispel: that there is further education in Mathematics in HEC. There isn't - the stuff that is taught in first year is more or less the same thing taught in grade 13 (so before the Matu). So if you scrape by in Math and then you compensate with more *conceptual* branches like Marketing and the like you are actually going to graduate HEC without improving or making much use your Math knowledge. By the time most of the "managerial track" (shudder) folk get to the CFA, they've forgotten the little they know.

There is a lot of Math / Stats in Econometry, but that's a different branch altogether (and these guys usually don't bother with CFA / CAIA).
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  #94  
Old 18.06.2012, 19:41
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

I dealt only with Econ and Finance MSc majors from HEC, never had anyone from marketing . In these majors they tend to have "too much" math, especially Finance guys. What I mean -- and I am a Financial Mathematics' person, and I love math, and love people to love math -- they know a lot about non-Gaussian properties, Levy processes, you name it -- but do not really understand them. Also during all their studies they often end up never touching real data, even if they had 2+ semesters of econometrics.

Any deviation or question that was not directly answered in the class stupefies them. Any question to derive Black-Scholes in a different way provokes a blank stare back.

But that is a selection bias of course -- the guys who understands that you can derive B-S in a few different way do not really seek my services

KTZV

PS. Analysts who work for hedge funds or FofF go for CAIA, and commodity analysts too. FRM needs quite a lot of math and banks need a lot of risk managers nowadays . CFA is too long and difficult, but it is the way for a "usual" (non-too much math) finance guy to climb the ladder.

Last edited by Kutuzov; 18.06.2012 at 20:05. Reason: grammar mistake -- want to correct
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Old 18.06.2012, 20:02
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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Are you saying that a high level of oral/aural ability and debating skills are on par with written work in France or Switzerland?
What is the % of the mark for oral/aural skills for the Bac currently in France?
..."mainly written academic work and classical literature" does not correspond to language teaching in above countries. If it does, then I did my job wrong and nobody told me.

For math, I had this discussion many times, and it depends a lot on how much weight is on proofs. Do student have to be able to use all the complex math they learn (and then can learn more complex math than other countries) or do they have to learn and justify the logic behind the tools (and then can't learn as complex formulas as in other countries). Most countries do both, but the mix is different from place to place, from generation to generation, from school-type to school-type and in some countries like France also from section to section (Language, economics or scientific). Impossible to compare, and usually, I keep a modest profile because I know how much urban legends go around about language learning, literature teaching and philosophy (my subjects) so I can imagine I could easily participate in propagating math urban legend if I don't keep low profile.
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Old 18.06.2012, 20:30
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

I agree it is impossible to compare. Yet

"Do student have to be able to use all the complex math they learn (and then can learn more complex math than other countries) or do they have to learn the logic behind the tools (and then can't learn as complex formulas as in other countries)."

I am not taking about complex math and Malliavin calculus. I am talking about someone who passed Matu a few years ago, and has had already statistics and stoch. calculus classes at a Uni, and who does the following:

12/27:14/81 = 2/27*81/14 =(12*81)/(27*14) = ...thinking ... =(6*9*3)/(9*7) = (6*3)/7= 18/7 =... long thinking... beginning to divide

18|_7...

Then (s)he writes down decimal number, and almost never fraction 2 4/7.

Overall it takes about 3 mins. In the end (s)he goes for the calculator to check

And I've seen it more than a few times and with more than a couple of students , admittedly in a relatively small sample, right-skewed.

I do not know where it falls in your classification

KTZV

Last edited by Kutuzov; 18.06.2012 at 20:37. Reason: clarification
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Old 18.06.2012, 20:31
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

I remember a Finance class in my MBA program back in the States. NPV was more or less going ok, but by the time we got to option valuation, 3/4 of the class was completely lost. The prof tried, but couldn't really get most people to understand the topic. Same thing happened in the quantitative methods class, but only with 1/2 of the class. Most in the end received passing grades (grade curve is used a lot) without being able to handle basic financial tools.
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Old 18.06.2012, 20:59
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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I dealt only with Econ and Finance MSc majors from HEC, never had anyone from marketing . In these majors they tend to have "too much" math, especially Finance guys. What I mean -- and I am a Financial Mathematics' person, and I love math, and love people to love math -- they know a lot about non-Gaussian properties, Levy processes, you name it -- but do not really understand them. Also during all their studies they often end up never touching real data, even if they had 2+ semesters of econometrics.

Any deviation or question that was not directly answered in the class stupefies them. Any question to derive Black-Scholes in a different way provokes a blank stare back.

But that is a selection bias of course -- the guys who understands that you can derive B-S in a few different way do not really seek my services

KTZV

PS. Analysts who work for hedge funds or FofF go for CAIA, and commodity analysts too. FRM needs quite a lot of math and banks need a lot of risk managers nowadays . CFA is too long and difficult, but it is the way for a "usual" (non-too much math) finance guy to climb the ladder.
I suggest a cautious study of what "HEC Econ and Finance" masters classes actually are. I think you'll find the programme is very flexible and you can tailor your curriculum either towards finance, industrial management, public management or marketing despite in the end having the exact HEC graduation diploma.

In my own personal opinion CFA CAIA and FRM are only valuable to those who charge you money for the worthless piece of paper you end up with.

Many of the current failings have been brought upon us by "risk managers" who failed to understand the actual workings of a gaussian copula and basic probabilities.
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Old 18.06.2012, 22:07
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

"In my own personal opinion CFA CAIA and FRM are only valuable to those who charge you money for the worthless piece of paper you end up with."

Do not agree -- some people working in Swiss banks come there with a background in "political studies" or similar. Do not ask me how they get into the banks in the first place, but they do work there. They may even end up managing yours and mine whatever pillar :-0 I think for them to go through CFA is very very educational and useful.

"Many of the current failings have been brought upon us by "risk managers" who failed to understand the actual workings of a gaussian copula and basic probabilities."

Agree completely. But this is the reason not to learning less, but for learning more and better. And thinking more
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Old 18.06.2012, 23:26
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Re: Math instructions at school: good or not?

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I think for them to go through CFA is very very educational and useful.
Funny you should say that as the CFA is pure rote learning and regurgitation....
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