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tarragon Posted - 02/18/2007 : 23:14:07
Hi:

Although I don't plan to teach mathematics for now, I wish to learn more about teaching, because it seems to be 'useless' if a person is excellent in mathematics but he doesn't know how to teach.

I had my "first experience" in teaching (just discussing the solutions to an exam) when my graduate professor told me to do so (he went abroad for an important meeting). Well, it's good that I didn't expect the whole class to listen to me because the professor had prepared solution keys (so the students perhaps understood it) or because the professor's absent so the students will go home.

I hope that when I become a teacher, my students will not disrespect me by intentionally cheating during exams as if the math course is not serious or by intentionally not attending classes.
I think one possible solution is to follow what Subhotosh Khan's professor had told him.

http://www.mathgoodies.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30415
12   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
warrenmendoza Posted - 10/14/2009 : 10:44:29
Hi!
I am Warren Mendoza, an Education student majoring in Mathematics.
It is indeed true that Mathematics is a hard subject to teach because we need to provide the easiest possible ways in which the students can learn the subject matter thoroughly. Even though how excellent in we are Mathematics, but we cannot teach properly, then the knowledge we have about the subject cannot be transmitted. Thus, it is important that we engaged ourselves to trainings and seminars so that we would learn how to teach in the easiest and most convenient manner that the student can understand. I am feeling the same way too. I have idea in my mind that I cannot be a good Math teacher even though I am excelling in the field. However, I have gained the confidence that I can be one because my classmates understand what I am teaching them every time we have a group study or review for a test or quiz in Mathematics.

If you have the gift and knowledge in Mathematics plus your passion in teaching, you can definitely be a good educator.

Warren I. Mendoza
Bachelor of Secondary Education Student
Major in Mathematics
University of Santo Tomas, Philippines
warush_zamendo@yahoo.com.ph
mariachristina Posted - 10/13/2009 : 02:57:54
quote:
Originally posted by tarragon

Hi:

Although I don't plan to teach mathematics for now, I wish to learn more about teaching, because it seems to be 'useless' if a person is excellent in mathematics but he doesn't know how to teach.

I had my "first experience" in teaching (just discussing the solutions to an exam) when my graduate professor told me to do so (he went abroad for an important meeting). Well, it's good that I didn't expect the whole class to listen to me because the professor had prepared solution keys (so the students perhaps understood it) or because the professor's absent so the students will go home.

I hope that when I become a teacher, my students will not disrespect me by intentionally cheating during exams as if the math course is not serious or by intentionally not attending classes.
I think one possible solution is to follow what Subhotosh Khan's professor had told him.

http://www.mathgoodies.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=30415



Tarragon,

You have your point when you said that "useless" it is to teach Math when you can't actually transmit to your class Math staffs.

Let me share my experience. I am currently a student teacher specializing in Math. Why Math? It is because I like the subject very much. And if I say I like it I'll find it less difficult. There are parts to describe as hard yet there are for sure easy in this field.

And when I had my first demonstration, I realized it is really useless--the way I feel about Math staffs that it is not a difficult subject. It is not enough that you only have the content of the course but not the what-is-the-teacher content. It is impossible to transmit to them the knowledge you have by just telling them straight away the answer and never discuss the process of solving.

But Tarragon, the second view I made then was the realization of how important the teaching courses or professional courses in education program. I hope I could learn more about the strategies and techniques of a teacher.

So in conclusion, I'll say you can change your style by your own creativity. Teach the field of your specialization as if you are performing and talking or discussing staffs to your friends or audience.

Ma. Christina Duero
BSE-MATHEMETICS
09062840207
considerate_24@yahoo.com
Subhotosh Khan Posted - 05/23/2008 : 09:35:16
"...Some of our school's best teachers are weaker in math."


I do not totally agree - but there is a shade of truth to this statement. Perhaps, somewhere in translation - the thought behind this was lost (It is sort presumptive on my part to bring in "translation" - but it is part of daily existence ... being presumptive and translating - consciously and unconsciously).

Anyway - I have been taught by brilliant professors - but lousy teachers (not all - just some). They knew the subject extremely well and they had no "understanding" (compassion) of the barrier to assimilation of certain ideas - from quantum mechanics to simple limit problem - faced by certain students. A "bad" student - can make a very good teacher, because s/he knows where the "pain" lies. They are not too quick to write-off as laziness. They can go through the steps that they had to overcome - to help the student. An "extremely" brilliant student "gets" it almost without effort - and then cannot understand "what is so difficult about thinking particle as wave...".

I think this is what was meant by "weaker" - meaning those who were not "4+" student all their life.
shaant Posted - 05/05/2008 : 20:15:09
I have thought about this topic for quite some time. I have since I started working believed that how much math you knew had little to no effect on how well you taught it. Some of our school's best teachers are weaker in math. However, there are clear benefits to having a firm background in math. The two main benefits I have found is that I can almost always figure out the errors students make on tests which is useful in seeing failings in my teaching. The other useful skill is that I can generate problems off the top of my head, which is useful for when my planning goes awry. Still, all in all, I would trade some of my math proficiency for some teaching proficiency. Just my two cents from a new teacher.
msakowski Posted - 08/20/2007 : 16:41:20
Here are some things to do to help you be a good teacher:

-Provide a comprehensive syllabus to your students outlining all sections, chapters, etc. Also indicate all tests and include all of the homework problems that you will assign. In short, provide all the course information that the students will need in that one document. This will help to prevent students from not handing in homework because they were absent on the day you assigned it.

-Come to class with clear, organized and well detailed notes/lesson plan in hand. This allows you to focus more on the students rather than having to think on your feet. I think the reason some of the most "brainy" mathematicians make such poor teachers is that they believe they have no need for a good thorough outline - thus they focus more on the math as they present it and less on the student.

-Pay attention to how the students act as you teach. Watch their facial expressions for non-verbal cues that they are lost or not able to keep up. Make sure they have time to take notes. To help in note taking, you can provide outlines to the students that they can fill in.
Subhotosh Khan Posted - 08/16/2007 : 17:09:32
David,

I have my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek - but -

What is really meant by mastery?

Do you want an elementary math teacher to be proficient in "abstract algebra" - before s/he can teach addition? Obviously, it won't hurt - but ......
the_hill1962 Posted - 08/13/2007 : 12:46:48
I like the statement, "Master the subject at that level". If only all students could master everything in every course in school...
I know that I did not do well with Algebra1 when 'they' put me in it in 8th grade. I was just not ready for it. Even as a senior in H.S., I am sure that I didn't understand Algebra the way I do now...
I think that understanding math takes a level of logical maturity. Do ALL juniors in H.S. have the maturity to master all the concepts of Algebra2?
the_hill1962 Posted - 07/23/2007 : 15:03:40
Good article. Where did you get it from?
As for the non-US countries involved with the super accelerators----why is that a problem for the U.S.? The "world" will have the benefit of any knowledge.
As for the past inventions (smoke detector, water purification...), probably they would have been invented even if there was no "NASA".
NASA was created before the public school system made the big push for math and science. The big push was made because various instituitions (including NASA and high tech. firms) said there were not enough students graduating with good math/science background. Well, look what happened when more started graduating with high tech degrees: many could not find a job! Look at where we are with technology now... Exploding space shuttles, multi-millionm dollar missles, self check-out that causes more problems than if just another cashier was hired (probably for the price of the equipment 2 or 3 could be hired for the length of the time that the machine's usefull life---------------these self check-out are more for a store to "show off than to save money.
galactus Posted - 07/12/2007 : 21:00:16
When it comes down to it, very few are going to go out and factor trinomials as part of their jobs. I taught math long enough to know I wouldn't want to do it for a living. The apathy is sickening. The vast majority of the students hate math and are only there because they're made to.
I see so many people who, like everyonbe else, took algebra and other math in school and as soon as school was done, they forgot it all. If you don't use it you lose it. And very, very few use it for anything. Most are lucky to balance their checkbooks or check the mileage on their car.

I have been teaching stats part time at a local community college and that's OK. I had a great batch of students last semester.
But teaching remedial math is a joke. The students I had would rather fail or not go to college than have to take math. I tried by best to motivate them, but it just wasn't there. Some absolutely refused to do the homework or even take the tests, yet they din't drop. I fail to understand it. You would think, if you hated something you'd what to get it out of your face and not have to repeat it.

The US is losing ground fast in the science and tech fields to China, India, and even Europe. Americans are spoiled and wrapped up in their cellphones and partying and it's going to catch up one day.

If you don't mind reading, here's an interesting article:

"As scientists run their biggest race, the U.S. falls hopelessly behind Europe.

The biggest race in science has been on for decades now, but by this time next year, the United States will no longer be a contender. The most expensive, sophisticated machine on Earth will come online in Europe in 2008: a new Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN nuclear research facility on the border of Switzerland and France. Its purpose is to discover what gives an atom mass. Researchers will be looking for a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson, known as the "God particle" to enthusiasts.

Whoever finds the Higgs has the Nobel Prize all wrapped up. Until now, much of theoretical physics has been developed from very little quantifiable data. The standard model says the Higgs particle has about 190 times the mass of a proton, but that model remains questionable until the Higgs particle is actually discovered. The LHC promises to facilitate this long-anticipated discovery, and most particle physicists hope for more than a simple confirmation of the standard model. If the Higgs differs from the standard model, or if researchers discover other new particles, it could introduce a whole new era for particle physics.

Until the LHC is operational, the U.S. still has a chance-one shot to make a final discovery before its scientists fade into textbook obscurity. Currently, the largest accelerator in the world is the Tevatron, located at Chicago's Fermilab. This means that until the Large Hadron Collider is activated next May, Chicago researchers will still be making the big discoveries. (Tevatron will be shut down completely in 2009.)

Case in point: On June 13 Tevatron announced the discovery of a new heavy particle, the first to have quarks from all three families of matter; studying the particle will help scientists better understand how quarks are bound together in protons and neutrons. It was a major discovery-but it wasn't the Higgs, and the time the Tevatron has to make science's most anticipated finding is almost up. With the nearly 25-year-old Tevatron nearing the end of its life cycle, researchers at Fermilab would likely have already found the Higgs if they were going to.

Even if the U.S. were to beat Europe to it and discover the Higgs before the LHC becomes operational, it would be the last major discovery in America. As of next year, the U.S. will have lost its leadership role, and the best and the brightest physicists will want to go to the superior facility of CERN. Consider our brains drained.

A project of this magnitude always inspires the next generation, so we can expect the next crop of great scientists to come from Europe, not the U.S. The technologies that invariably result from such significant discoveries will emanate from Europe. Think of the impact the space program had in the United States, with an entire generation of young people wanting to become astronauts, and spin-off technologies affecting everything from oil-spill cleanup to golf ball design. Cordless power tools were developed for the Apollo program; smoke detectors and water filtration units in your home use NASA technology; much of our media relies on satellite systems NASA helped develop; many medical advancements-including both CAT scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-are a result of the space program. The potential of the European research program is just as high.

And the trend of cutting-edge science moving from the U.S. to Europe won't stop with a particle accelerator; there are already plans to build a $13 billion experimental fusion reactor in France. Also, while the U.S. is participating in the new $1.4 billion Herschel Space Observatory, the largest infrared space-based telescope of its kind, it too is a European project-the U.S. is not taking the lead as it once would have. The ongoing loss of leadership in the most important fields of science is just one more symptom of a declining U.S. superpower. Europe is ready to fill the void."






the_hill1962 Posted - 07/12/2007 : 20:43:52
The following, from tarragon,
" because it seems to be 'useless' if a person is excellent in mathematics but he doesn't know how to teach."
is interesting.
Most people in math education today seem to think that just being excellent in math opens up a door to 'the world'. What tarragon says implies a more practical viewpoint.
We force students to learn math and tell them that it is very important in life. Now, the word "useless" is overstating it but really, what is the need to know Algebra2 (required for H.S. diploma now)?
I am sure that I will get some negative feedback here (note that I did not agree with "useless").
Subhotosh Khan Posted - 07/09/2007 : 11:33:48
There is a difference between imparting knowledge and imparting information. Most of the TV imparts information - and a good teacher imparts knowledge. Best difference between knowledge and information is - Information applied to "life" is knowledge. I had put life in quotation because by that I mean the whole and all the sphere of existence.

I believe when some one imparts knowledge, s/he does make a difference in the life of the receiver. When a math teacher teaches a student "how to add" - that is a life changing event. That receiver will never look at numbers the same way.
haruki Posted - 07/09/2007 : 11:24:41
A person that is good in math does not mean he will be good in teaching math.

I have been tutoring math (primary 6) for nearly 1 year. It has been a very good experience for me as I have made lots of friends with all my students. They respect me and treat me as a friend, a sister to look up to.

Being their teacher doesn't mean I only teach them math, but, I also do my best to change their studying patterns for the better.



#Teaching is not just about imparting knowledge, it is more to making a difference in their life.

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