We were very fortunate to have Tad Johnston, Mathematics Education Consultant for the American Institutes for Research in Washington, DC, as the teacher/trainer for a recent Math Workshop for AACLC tutors on October 1, 2015. This program was part of our ongoing effort to equip our tutors with as many skills and tools as possible to meet the various needs of their students.
Adult learners bring their experiences and common sense to math problems. If they view math as only symbol manipulation, a reasonable answer often gets lost. Education research has shown that students who represent problems with diagrams have greater success in solving them.
In this session, participants worked with tape diagrams to visually represent a variety of word problem types. Tape diagrams are quick to draw, are applicable to many problem types, and look like “adult” (back of the envelope) mathematics. The goal of the workshop was to help tutors learn to use these diagrams with their students to help them use their common sense as mathematical problem solvers.
About Tad Johnston:
Tad is employed as a Mathematics Education Consultant for the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in Washington D.C., one of the largest behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. Their mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.
Tad has 17 years of teaching experience in middle and high school and has taught mathematics education courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. He has experience as a professional developer, curriculum leader and instructional coach at the school, district and regional levels and consulted nationally on mathematics standards projects.