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# What is theoretical thinking?

My math teacher tells me that I'm good with numbers but I don't have that theoretical thinking in my head. What does she mean by that? Is there anyway to improve my theoretical thinking skill?

she says that I'm good when dealing numbers but when she starts to start using letters or variables, I am lost.

2 years ago

she says that I'm good when dealing numbers but when she starts to start using letters or variables, I am lost.

2 years ago

she says that I'm good when dealing numbers but when she starts using letters or variables, I am lost.

2 years ago

Member since:
December 31, 2009
Total points:
50,471 (Level 7)

She means you are not good at concepts or at abstract things. You lack a true understanding or comprehension of how things work; you simply, mechanically go through the arithmetic algorithms you were taught and blindly follow.
I think you're right. Usually I just follow what the teacher teaches me. I can't really think beyond that even when I try really hard. When my teacher teaches, she doesn't use a lot of examples and kinda let us read the book and figure it out on our own. Thanks for making me realize my problem.

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• by RossK
Member since:
May 23, 2009
Total points:
26,468 (Level 7)
I think it could mean a couple of different things depending on context, but my guess is that the teacher means applying theory; presumably math theory; to conceptualize and solve difficult problems.

This seems like a negative thing to tell a student, but if this is what the teacher means by "theoretical thinking", it requires a thorough knowledge of math theory and lots of practice approaching unfamiliar problems to find creative solutions. Make sure that you identify and analyze all of the known and unknown conditions surrounding a problem and then look for connections between them. Math theory to a mathematician is like a tool box to a mechanic. The more you learn to understand mathematical systems and associate those systems with theory, the more you will be able to chose the correct tools to find solutions.
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• Member since:
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoretical…

http://www.analytictech.com/mb870/handou…

http://jsdstat.com/Statblog/2007/12/05/s…

"...How should educators teach students
to make better theoretical arguments,
that is, an argument that is logical and
fruitful? Logical thinking is about making
valid deductions from a set of premises
and avoiding fallacies. Fruitful
thinking involves making an argument
that fits reality. Theoretical thinking,
then, emphasizes building a sound argument
with relevant and interesting empirical
implications. In this way, theoretical
thinking complements the more common
educational mantra of teaching students
to think critically, which tends to focus
on the detection of fallacies or other
flaws in an argument. Emphasizing detection
limits the development of analytical and
independent thinking. To better teach the
range of thinking skills most educators
want their students to acquire calls for a
focus on the understanding and construction
of theoretical arguments, and this
calls for greater emphasis on learning at
least a basic system of logic.
A focus on theory building instead of
the detection of fallacies improves thinking
in four ways. First, emphasizing
theory enables students to build better
arguments. Arguments are unpersuasive
when they make illogical connections or
are underdeveloped. Whereas learning
logic can help reduce invalid deductions,
acquiring a fuller understanding of the
parts of an argument can help students
put some flesh on their often skeletal
initial arguments. Second, focusing on
theory enables students to better analyze
an argument. Fallacy identification exercises
are useful, but arguments may go
astray in other ways, such as having inaccurate
premises or a mismatch between
concepts and indicators. Third, calling..."

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~msouva/Fostering%…

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