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A Key to Effective Teaching: Observation

§ June 29th, 2012 Comments Off§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Math, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pages from Da Vinci's notebook - Photography by Maia C

Last week a principal introduced me to a math teacher in my school district. The principal proudly stated that over the past three years this teacher’s students had averaged 98% advanced or proficiency in Algebra 1.

“Wow! How did you do that?” I exclaimed. “Is there something special in your teaching technique?” Obviously, this teacher knew her subject, but so do many teachers and without achieving these results.

“I care for my students,” she responded.

Okay. Yes, caring does have a lot to do with a teacher’s success. We wrote a blog about it in February called We MUST Engage Our Kids. Caring was one of four ways that we suggested. But 98% advanced? Can “caring” account for that kind of success? After I pressed for more information, this teacher finally revealed § Read the rest of this entry…


Using Math Class to Teach Character Development

§ May 1st, 2012 Comments Off§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, motivation, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Thomas Edison - "too stupid to learn anything"

Math is hard. Of course it can be fun and gratifying, but at times it can also be discouraging. Can a teacher teach students how to properly respond to failure?

Finding the right answer is sometimes not as important as learning to approach a problem correctly, having the willingness to study a mathematic question from different angles and resisting the urge to give up. This is best taught in middle school. In grades 6 – 8 if a student fails a test or gets a “D” or “F” in class, it has no effect on his or her college admission records. But this failure can become a valuable life lesson and, in fact, if approached properly a teacher can help students prepare themselves for high school, for college and even find good jobs. Here is what is needed: § Read the rest of this entry…