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Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don't understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what's needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student's frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that "I'll never understand math." A cute image or a "fill_in_the_blanks" riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let's face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.
As a math tutor for 15 years, I have tutored hundreds of students from all the grade levels. I found most of the students were not comfortable with mathematics. More than 80% of them said, "the mathematics is very hard." Why do most of the students find mathematics a hard subject and try to avoid it? The answer for the above question is hidden in a simple example. I always give the example of stairs to my students, and giving the same example in this article. I compare the steps of a staircase to the concepts in mathematics. As this is very hard to reach higher floors of a building without stairs (or elevators these days), same way learn higher concepts in mathematics without learning basic concepts is very hard.
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