Summary of the InterviewIn the conduction of my ongoing interviews with Jazlyn, for the second interview the child was given a series of problems to solve. Jazlyn solved two of the five problems correctly. For the first problem, she employed the use of a counting strategy, but she stated that the whole problem was “hard and confusing.” She utilized scratch paper as well, still resulting in the incorrect answer. She needed the first question repeated for her multiple times and was still unsure of how to proceed, ultimately getting the answer wrong. She tried counting and making marks on the paper to count in order to attempt to decipher the answer, however those efforts were not enough. The child’s scratch paper has been included as an attachment to this work.
For the second problem, Jazlyn employed a different tactic, opting instead to apply direct modeling to resolve the problem; a strategy that was not met with success. In the resolution of her second problem, she drew the jellybeans on a piece of paper in order to get the answer, circling the answer above the drawn jellybeans. She utilized this same strategy in her resolution of the third problem, though instead of drawing, this time she opted to use blocks. She took eight blocks – four red and four brown – in order to complete this problem. Once she had the blocks out, she then took three of the brown blocks out of the pile in front of her, leaving five blocks behind and allowing the provision of the correct answer.
She continued to use direct modeling to solve the fourth problem. For the fourth problem, Jazlyn took ten blocks and divided them into groups of four; out of those four blocks, she took out three blocks from each group and got the answer of 12. It was unclear as to how the child was able to use less blocks than were needed, especially when she was using basic addition and subtraction instead of multiplication, to solve the problem, and still attain the correct answer. She repeated the process when asked to explain, but could not provide a verbal explanation as to how ten blocks made twelve or how the manipulation of those blocks in that manner allowed her to obtain the appropriate answer. Jazlyn employed direct modeling for the final problem as well, though she did not obtain the correct answer to this problem either, in spite of her efforts.
Analysis of Problem Solving
Jazlyn did not benefit from counting toward the application of word problems, but after correcting this and applying a different strategy, that of direct modeling, she was able to get to the correct answer for the some of the remaining problems, even though the direct modeling method she used on the fourth problem did not start out with her using enough blocks to get the answer she did. Jazlyn has no grasp of the abstract and must rely on manipulatives in order to successfully answer math problems. She finds a high level of difficulty in the completion of basic math, and while in her first interview, she indicated difficulty with the same, the manner in which she presented that difficulty did not give credit to the amount of difficulty that she faces in the completion of each problem. The direct modeling strategy allows the student to approach problem solving via the use of modeling to construct the answer to a story or word problem; in other words, the child is able to use manipulatives to work to resolve the answer because other strategies may have proven more difficult. Jazlyn does not have basic concepts of math down, and counting posed an issue, resulting in the need to take a step further back and employ the use of manipulatives toward the goal of resolving the problems given. While it is clear that Jazlyn has better results with the use of manipulatives, her grasp of math is still too rudimentary for the application of this, one of the most basic math strategies available in the realm of cognitively guided instruction.
Summary Reflection on Interview
In the completion of my second interview with Jazlyn, I learned that the child was aware of her mathematical shortcomings, but that the fact that she does not present those shortcomings to be as bad as they are serves to further lend insight into how much it affects her and how much she wants the matter to go away. Her willingness to try multiple strategies until she found one that worked for her indicated that she has been working on improving herself and that she has not given up, in spite of her difficulties with the subject.
As an interviewer, I found that this second interview was more challenging than the first. As Jazlyn did not present the full scope of her mathematical issues, I was, as a result, unprepared for the amount of issues she experienced with the subject. This caused me to not be ready with the appropriate strategies and resulted in a need to repeat problems for her multiple times. The comments that Jazlyn made and the manner in which she worked to address each of the different problems served to provide more understanding of her situation than the information she provided verbally initially and it made me realize how much I had relied upon her initial answers in the creation of my problems and in my manner of approach. In the future, I will have to look for additional contextual clues, as opposed to just relying solely on the information given by the child, particularly if the child is as sensitive, and as aware, of his or her issues with a given subject, as Jazlyn is. The information obtained from the completion of this second interview was highly beneficial, as it allowed me to confront my assumptions about the process of teaching math and look at multiple perspectives when addressing a given situation.