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#1 2013-11-27 17:40:05

antonrasmussen
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Creative Ways to Teach

OK, so I posted a similar question in my introduction thread to Roniman (Can't post link)

But, I figured I'd ask it here as well:

"What is it that seems to work to get people to learn the most effectively? I've been hearing a lot about "applied learning" lately. Is that just another "buzz" word or is having an immediate application pretty much the go to teaching method for mathematics?

"I'm trying to find a unique "angle" on how to approach teaching math; but, everything I've come up with is either faddish or . . . I don't know . . . silly."

Here are some ideas I've come up with:

-Environmental / "green" movement stuff
-Comedy
-Philosophy or History
-Cartoons
-Music

Basically, I'm trying to figure out a unique way to create teaching resources that stands apart from other resources but is still effective in communicating. Ideally, I'd like to be able to create a teaching method that is MORE effective because it is so creative.

Have any of y'all tried this and had success/failure?

How about resources out there doing something truly unique for mathematics.

Let's assume my demographics are College aged or advanced high school level math students who want to prepare for . . . idk . . .  the SAT, the GRE, the Math Subject GRE, the ACT, etc.

Any ideas or thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks,
Anton

Last edited by antonrasmussen (2013-11-27 17:40:32)

#2 2013-11-27 19:08:47

bobbym

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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

Problem solving is the best way to learn so problem posing might be the best method to teach.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

#3 2013-11-27 19:13:03

antonrasmussen
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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

bobbym wrote:

Problem solving is the best way to learn so problem posing might be the best method to teach.

I like that!

I'm going to have to incorporate that technique into whatever I do.

It seems rather Socractic . . . hey, maybe my "thing" will be to walk around challenging people.

Hahaha . . . I suppose that didn't end too well for ol' Socrates.

-Anton

#4 2013-11-27 19:21:45

bobbym

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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

Just do not have any hemlock nearby.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

#5 2013-11-27 19:52:21

bob bundy
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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

hi Anton,

I don't know how it is in your part of the world, but, in the UK, some kids don't actually want to learn maths; in fact, they may not even want to be in school at all.  I've always found the key is motivation.  If someone wants to learn something, then the actual approach used seems to be secondary.  I can give you three examples to illustrate this.

I was given a small, remedial group to teach.  One of the things was a maths investigation.  I knew they wouldn't enjoy it much as it was very abstract and they couldn't see the point.  I bought some jelly babies (they're sweets shaped like little babies) and demonstrated the algebra using these.  The deal was 'at the end of the lesson, we eat the sweets'.  For one girl in particular this combination of outright bribe and kookiness worked.  She really got involved and manage to write out correct equations using 'jelly babies' for her variable.  I convinced her to replace that with 'j' and she reached an advanced standard in the topic.  My head of department came across to witness this new found enthusiasm and the girl was able to construct the correct equation for a new case, using 'j' as her variable.  Of course, she knew, and I knew, what the 'j' really stood for but that didn't matter; she had achieved a level way above that expected of her.

I tutored a lad who was getting on badly at school.  But he wanted to become a chef and knew he would have to show a certain standard in all his subjects.  This determination paid off and now he runs his own restaurant and is a master sommelier.

Another lad I taught was also considered by the school to be remedial in both maths and English.  But he was a keen amateur astronomer and I was lucky to be teaching him that.  He entered for O level astronomy.  To succeed with this he had to read quite advanced texts and do maths involving trig,  logs and algebra.  Because he was motivated he managed it and his work with his English and maths teachers improved immensely.  Basically, he wanted to do it so he did; and I think that's the key.  Find what motivates your students and work from there.

Bob

ps.  I've just thought of another example that a university lecturer used to teach us about surjections, injections and bijections. He used sets of male and female students and a variety of 'relationships' to illustrate his presentation.  He managed to make the whole thing sound positively depraved so, of course, we hung on his every word and remembered the difference for years after.  And that lecture was the talking point of the student body for a week!

You cannot teach a man anything;  you can only help him find it within himself..........Galileo Galilei

#6 2013-11-27 22:09:14

antonrasmussen
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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

Wow! Great post Bob. Thanks so much.

Well, I suppose then I really need to concentrate on teaching with an angle towards those who would actually want to learn.

Therefore, my idea of "the math of gangsters and drug dealers" probably wouldn't really be the best approach.

I'm looking to do videos and slideshows, so I want to make sure it's entertaining . . . maybe first I need to consider what people would be most motivated to learn.

Thanks again for the reply.

-Anton

#7 2013-11-27 22:10:17

antonrasmussen
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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

bobbym wrote:

Just do not have any hemlock nearby.

#8 2013-11-28 02:21:38

bobbym

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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

Hi;

Once a person answers for himself the question of what is this good for he can make progress. For me it was programming that proved that math was essential, for some others it was gambling. Once anyone like Bob's astronomy student sees the need then he can soak up math very quickly.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.

#9 2013-11-28 02:35:08

antonrasmussen
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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

bobbym wrote:

Hi;

Once anyone like Bob's astronomy student sees the need then he can soak up math very quickly.

That's encouraging for me, for sure, as I prepare to sit for the actuarial exams again.

Instead of just studying for the exam like I did last time (Einstein on insanity) I'm trying to find a way to put my study habits into some larger framework or purpose. . . this goes into my whole idea of teaching with an "angle."

So, I want to be an actuary--it's a dream of mine.

But, in order to get there, I feel like I need to help others get there too . . . karmic balance and all that.

Having math lessons isn't enough for me though--I want to do something within a larger scope like Gail Tverburg at http://ourfiniteworld.com/ . . . from her about page:

"Gail the Actuary’s real name is Gail Tverberg. She has an M. S. from the University of Illinois, Chicago in Mathematics, and is a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Gail is involved with oil and other limits in several different ways:
1.As a researcher. Gail regularly goes back to data from government and other web sites, and creates her own graphs and does her own analysis. She also follows the work of others doing research.
2.As an actuary. Gail is interested in what the implications of reduced oil supply are for the economy and for financial institutions.
3.As an educator. Gail is interested in bringing the message about what is happening to as broad an audience as possible"

That's just epic!

Anyway . . . that's what all this "unique" angle stuff is all about. It's about helping myself pass the exam, it's about helping others pass the exams, and it's about helping to raise awareness on some bigger issue.

-Anton

#10 2013-11-28 03:01:57

bobbym

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Re: Creative Ways to Teach

The toughest student you ever will ever try to teach is the one sitting in your chair. If you can convince him of the need then the desire will be strong and you are a cinch. But he can be stubborn.

In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them.
I have the result, but I do not yet know how to get it.
All physicists, and a good many quite respectable mathematicians are contemptuous about proof.