News in Brief

Researcher Finds ‘Teaching Gap’ Between U.S. and Asian Math Teachers

UC Irvine assistant professor of education, Lindsey Richland found that math teachers in the United States offer less support than math teachers in other nations, such as Hong Kong and Japan, which could be the reason why students in the United States score lower on international math tests.

The study observed the use of analogies and their usefulness in learning mathematical concepts in the United States, Hong Kong and Japan. Researchers discovered that analogies are useful only if teachers utilize imagery and gestures that may be connected to the analogies so that students fully understand the analogies.

Teachers in the United States use analogies as often as teachers in Hong Kong and Japan but use fewer visual elements that tie into the analogies. As a result, active reasoning does not fully take place, which can lead students to retain less information, not fully learn concepts or misunderstand the analogies as a whole.

In order to conduct this study, research colleagues observed videotapes of teachers giving math lessons. The study found that teachers in the United States challenged students less than in countries that scored higher in math. Although one reason for the gap may be the cultural differences in reasoning, the authors of the study suggest that math teachers in the United States can make slight adjustments while using analogies.

Co-authors of this study include professors Osnat Zur and Keith J. Holyoak from UCLA.

Students and Alumni Receive Prestigious Awards

Thirteen UC Irvine students and two alumni were awarded some of the nation’s most competitive academic awards this year.

The awards include one Fulbright Fellowship, one Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, two Donald A. Strauss Scholarships, two Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, one Gates Cambridge Scholarship, eight National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, and one National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Eight NSF fellows in one year is a record for UCI, and three of this year’s NSF fellows were previous Goldwater Scholarship winners.

The lucky recipients of these awards were fourth-year Tim Martin, a women’s studies and comparative literature double-major, third-year Satoru Emori, a materials science engineering major, second-year Allison Zemek, a biomedical engineering major, Luis Lara, an economics major, Trinh My Luu, a comparative literature and Asian American studies double-major, Mukul Kumar, a history major, fourth-year Danielle Issa, a mechanical engineering major, Jenny Ouyang, a biological sciences and French double-major, Michael Thompson, a chemistry major, fourth-year Joy Trujillo, a chemical engineering major, Matthew Whiteside, an ecology and evolutionary biology major, Desir