Copyright Thomas M. Plonski 1987-2012
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                                 NOTES TO THE TEACHER
     Dear Teacher,

          I have found that almost every person reaches a point in his life
     where he stops learning new math skills.  To be successful when
     using the PLONSKI MATH METHOD you must keep in mind the
     goals of the method.

         1.  Seek out the mental stumbling block that is impeding
             the student's further progress.

         2.  Make the student strongly and clearly aware of that
             mental stumbling block.

         3.  Persistently challenge the student to overcome that
             mental stumbling block.

         4.  Challenge the student to gain speed in using the math
             skills the student has already learned.


         To be successful when using the PLONSKI MATH METHOD the
     teacher must accept the mindset of a tutor.  (Please also read the
     article entitled "NOTES TO THE STUDENT."

     The PLONSKI MATH METHOD is a diagnostic-prescriptive method.
     It has been used successfully with thousands of students.  The
     procedures, assignments, and sequence of assignments of the
     PLONSKI MATH METHOD have been refined and re-refined over a
     period of almost fifty years of trying different assignments and
     sequences of assignments.  I have discovered that the
     subconscious mind is not at all logical and so the optimum learning
     sequence is not necessarily a pattern that seems logical.  The only 
     results that count are results that endure.

        Read the "NOTES TO THE STUDENT" article for information
     about how the student must begin and what his daily practice
     procedure should be.  We have been fortunate to be able to
     use school classrooms as control groups for experimental
     purposes.  In grades 4 through 12 the best results have always
     been achieved by students who work at least one hour a day five
     days a week.  In one control experiment, a class of 40 students
     working 45 minutes a day was compared to a class of 40 students
     working 60 minutes each day.  At the end of one year the
     45-minutes-a-day group accomplished only 75% of the work done
     by the 60-minutes-per-day group.  We have experimented with
     every combination we could think of (e.g.  working every other
     day,  half-hour mornings with half-hour afternoons, four-hour
     school days vs. eight-hour school days, etc.)  The only thing
     that really seemed to matter was accumulated  minutes on task.
     The growth rate was proportional to accumulated minutes on task.  

         Young students and hyperactive students and students with
     attention deficit disorder did better work when the sixty minutes
     was broken into smaller portions and done a piece at a time.
     We were amazed to discover how quickly the attention span grew
     for such students when they saw other students were able to work
     for longer periods of time without a break.  We have had many,
     many students who practiced the PLONSKI MATH METHOD
     assignments for a full hour during school and then bought a disk
     to take home so they could work on it some more at home and
     on week ends.  The learning curve for such students far
     surpassed our wildest expectations.  I have learned to
     PRESUME NOTHING!  Even ten-year old students can learn to
     construct Algebraic proofs and solve quadratic equations!

        I call the ages from 9 through 12 the golden years.  These
    students are in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades.  They are
    eager to learn and thrive on challenges.  Without realizing it
    many public schools have been slowing these students down.
    On the contrary, because these students are so docile and
    cause so little trouble, parents and schools tend to neglect
    them while focusing their efforts on the "troubled" children.
    (The squeeky wheel gets the grease.)

    The teacher must remain mindful
    of the following efficiency procedures:
     1.      Whenever the student is given the option:
                        IS THIS A TEST (Y/N/Q)?
         The student must always choose N unless the teacher gives
         him different directions.  This will allow the student to
         work at the task until the acceptable proficiency level
         is obtained.  When the acceptable proficiency level is
         obtained the results are saved as though the student had
         taken a test.  The results are saved to disk as a score
         of 100 %.  The next time the student chooses the S option
         on the main MENU he will be given a new assignment.

     2.     The objective is to have the student practice the assigned
         task until a level of 100 % is achieved at least one time.
         (Note: This does not necessarily mean that a 100 % result will
         occur the next time the student practices the same assignment.)

     3.     Whenever the teacher wants to see the student's progress
         report, the teacher will choose the
                  "L = Look at your scores"
         option on the main Menu but use the student's name.

     4.     The teacher also has administrative options available.
         The administrative options are code-protected to prevent
         corruption of the files.  To obtain the administrative codes
         contact the author.

     5.     Often times it is slow thinking speed that is the students's
         mental barrier.  Mental speed is a function of spaced repetition.
         I strongly recommend for the student to start the entire process
         all over again from the beginning every nine weeks.  This can be
         easily done by assigning the student a different PERIOD number
         for each nine-week time span. (The school edition uses PERIOD
         numbers; the home edition does not.)

     6.     Advanced students should also start over again from the
         beginning but every eighteen weeks instead of every nine weeks.
         An advanced student working forty-five minutes per school day
         should be able to complete the entire computerized portion of
         the PLONSKI MATH METHOD within eighteen weeks.
         (An advanced student is defined as a student who can complete
         at least one hundred assignments within a nine-week time span.)


        I consider the true cause of the lack of success in American
     public schools to be a flawed learning theory.  This flawed learning
     theory, which is used in American public schools, has its basis in
     animal learning theory.  The learning theory used there is based on
     the work of men like B. F. Skinner.  Skinner's learning theory is
     appropriately called "Animal Behaviorism." 

        I believe Skinner's animal behaviorism theory has been wrongly
     extrapolated for use with humans.  In America we use animal
     behaviorism techniques for eight years in our elementary schools 
     then we wonder why the students behave like animals when they 
     reach high school.  Skinner examined the way animals "think".
     When we use animal behaviorism teaching techniques, we are
     teaching our students to think like animals.

        Animal thinking is uncritical, cue-response, thinking behavior.
     I believe our problems in America with gang youth activity is an
     inadvertant outcome of the learning-teaching techniques used in
     our public schools.  Criminal gang behavior is based on the
     flawed thinking skills of the gang members.  This uncritical,
     cue-response behavior is also strongly evident in the behavior
     of audiences in a motion picture theater.
        In public education the recent promotion of the use of
    "higher order thinking skills" is based on the recognition of the
    errors in extrapolated animal-behaviorism, public-school, teaching

        The PLONSKI MATH METHOD is based on a different learning
    theory.  I call this theory the "Human Learning Theory."  This 
    learning theory is a blend of a clear understanding of "intuitive 
    learning," inductive logic, and the "Socratic Method."  Currently
    the only way to come to a full understanding of this human learning
    theory is to experience it for yourself.  Experiencing the
    PLONSKI MATH METHOD for yourself can bring you a long way
    to understanding the theory behind its structure.

        Are you disappointed with a student?  Maybe your expectations
    were to high.  Are you surprised at a student's great progress?
    Perhaps your expectations were too low.

        I cannot tell you how many times my preconceptions kept me
    from seeing the obvious.  Your preconceptions can make you
    blind and deaf to reality.

                                                         Good luck,
                                                           Tom Plonski


   Regarding the student's need for praise from the teacher, below
   is an excerpt from The Coachella Valley Federation of Teachers
   Bulletin Nov. 1989.

                           PRAISE OR FLATTERY?
                                      -CVFT BULLETIN Nov. 1989

                  Children quickly catch on to inflationary
                praise, and your flowery words lose their

                  It is necessary to distinguish between the
                concepts of flattery and praise.  Flattery is un-
                earned.  It  is  what  Grandma  says  when  she
                comes for a visit:  "Oh, you're getting prettier
                each day. I bet you'll have to beat the boys off
                with a stick when you get to be a teenager!"
                Invariably, boys are told how smart or strong
                they are.  Flattery heaps compliments upon
                the child for something he did not achieve.
                  Praise, on the other hand, is used to rein-
                force positive, constructive behavior.  It
                should be highly specific rather than general.
                For instance, "You've been a good boy..." is
                unsatisfactory.  A better way: "I like the way
                you straightened you room today."  Parents
                and teachers should always watch for 
                opportunities to offer genuine, well-deserved 
                praise to their children, while avoiding empty
                         -- Taken from the CVFT bulletin Nov. 1989.

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Copyright 2006-2012 TOM PLONSKI Last modified: July 22, 2012