A typical phrase maths teachers hear is: I don't understand the sum.

This might be a typical conversation:

Joe: "Miss, I do not understand the sum."

Teacher: "Joe, what do you not understand?"

Joe: "I don’t know Miss."

Teacher: “Joe, if you can’t tell me what you do not understand, I can’t help you”

Joe does not understand, because during the lesson, the following words flew over his head:

“The angles at the lower sides of an isosceles triangle are equal, the outer angle of a triangle is equal to the sum of the opposite inner angles. This applies to any triangle. However, if we look at a square, all the angles are ninety degrees. When the angles of a square are placed on a straight line, one can see that they add up to 360 degrees and not 180 degrees as with a triangle. At the parallelogram which is our next theme, there are two lines which are always parallel. Two parallel lines will NEVER intersect. There are also cutting lines and alternating angles. Alternating angles are only equal when the cutting line is 90 degrees to the parallel lines and remember the opposite angles are then equal too, etc, etc”

After the lesson the teacher provides the class with homework.

Joe and at least 30% of the class are clueless, but his mother told him, "Joe, if you do not understand, then you raise your hand and you ASK."

So, Joe raises his hand and ASKS. The teacher then asks him to explain what he exactly does NOT understand otherwise she can’t help him.

For Joe to be able to point out his problem he must be able to put his problem into words. This means Joe MUST:

- Have analysed the sum, but Joe is clueless.
- Rationalized to get to the crux of the sum's question, but he can’t.
- Joe must be able to think in abstract ways while his brain cells cannot even understand the concrete examples.
- Joe must be CLEAR enough to be able to articulate his problem, BUT not smart enough to be able to solve it.
- Joe must be an engineer to be able to verbalise his problem.

The result is that Joe can’t be helped because he is not capable of expressing his problem - he can’t engage in an academic conversation.

be able to help you."

Joe feels bullied and sits down. During that afternoon there are huge problems at home because Joe did not listen in class and did not keep on asking .......

The rest is history. When the reports cards become available the blame is shifted from the one stakeholder to the other.

- Joe did not do his best.

- The teacher did not teach good enough.

- The mother is not committed.

**MAKES ONE THINK…**

This is where the Thinking Tools approach to teaching takes the lead. We have the ability to empower teachers to grasp a student’s **#innerspeech** to determine what and where the gap is and if the student is Iazy or taking chances.