Please forward this note to anyone who might be interested in discussions about educational remediation
I have been reviewing materials on educational remediation, and have started to design some grant proposals and scholarship related to methodology, curriculum, objectives and theory.
My work on this subject is placed on my web site at:
I have been involved during the past decade on the development of advanced information technology (mostly for government agencies). My interest is in leaving that profession and returning to my work on educational theory and practice.
In 1994 I did write a NSF grant proposal for funding to establish methodology based on the theory that I had developed. The proposal was viewed as being outside of typical efforts in mathematics education. I have one year of graduate coursework on the mission of higher education, but my primary work has been in the theoretical foundations of human knowledge representation; including the foundations and history of mathematics.
The key "professional" problem, with my 1994 NSF proposal, is that my theory - one based on immunological theory - suggests that the individual student, having remediation needs, develops an acquired learning disability because of the methodology and practices as experienced by the student during his/her K-12 years.
No one likes institutional criticism, unless this criticism if very well presented and unless there are very clear guidelines so that the institutions can respond to the criticism. This need to address the institution's concerns has to be presented up front and first.
My new presentations recognize individual functional restrictions on attention and cognitive focus, and there are many of these restrictions. For example, attention deficits have real experiential and neurological origins. The experiential origins may include experiences not related to classroom teaching practices.
What might be the institutional impact from a successful theory of learning? What if almost all high school students were comfortable with their awareness about the foundations of mathematics and abstract thought?
The only way to talk about this potential social reality is to have specific cases where students and faculty have found the theory and the consequent methodology and curriculum successful. What happens to arithmetic and algebra instruction if students more easily master the skills assumed to be the target of this instruction?
The development of a clear understanding of the origins of attention deficit disorders and other categories of cognitive limitations can be made, and made part of a professionally acceptable foundational theory for remediation.
Mastery of curriculum not previously seen by the student is the key to my methodology.
The benefits from this approach are two fold:
1) Social acceptance: The student is faced with a positive social reality; that of mastering something not attempted before.
2) Use of novelty: The theory underlying my pedagogy about educational remediation stems for a study of immune system response to habituated stimulus.
Given a semester, or two, of focused scholarship on the relevant literatures; and teaching experience; I believe that I can place my work into a professional form acceptable to mainstream mathematics education. I note that a “remediation” course is not the only place where my work might be applied, as almost all of our students have some fear of failure in learning mathematics curriculum.
I hope that a College will accept my request to join the faculty for a short period of time (one year). The short period of contemplation and teaching will help my effort in a number of ways.
My objective for the Fall of 2006 is the development of two books, one at the graduate mathematics education level and one to be used as arithmetic remediation (in high school or the freshman year).
Dr. Paul S. Prueitt
Taos, New Mexico