As students we often wonder why some subjects are easy to understand and requires not much effort in terms of re-reading the material, for us to grasp what it entails. One subject seems to remain elusive and uneasy for a vast majority of learners at all levels of education; that subject is Mathematics, it is one subject that most learners finds difficult even after doubling the amount of time spent on studying the material. My intention is to explore ways to make Mathematics easier for other students using feedback from students enrolled in NSF mathematics peer leading workshops, and use these data feedbacks to simplify student learning.
In order to design a simplified approach to learning, I will be applying learning theories such as Polya’s Problem Solving, Tuckman’s Team Development Model, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to name a few, in the peer-led or CO group workshops. The impact of the application of the aforementioned theories shall be used in analyzing how learners respond through observation. To gather reliable data, learners shall be asked through two surveys; first of which will be conducted at the middle of the semester, because by then learners and peer-leaders will have had enough sessions to thoroughly provide assessment that can be used to form a baseline. The second survey shall be conducted at the end of the semester and the data used in comparison to the former for forming a conclusion on the impact of peer-led workshops. Questions I intend to answer are: what are the obstacles students perceive hinders them from learning mathematics; and ways in which peer-led workshops might help students overcome such obstacle(s). Thoughts and suggestions offered by students will also be considered for application with future students.
Upon completion, I hope the limitations of the data sample can be overcome by been reduplicated in other colleges outside CUNY, for a more comprehensive approach that can simplify students learning in Mathematics and the influence of peers in learning any challenging skill or subject. The implications of this study are that mathematics doesn’t have to be difficult and can even be as easy or easier compared to other subjects.