I have discovered that even experienced teachers do not notice that the word “function” means two different things in different contexts, sometimes it means the “dependent variable f(x)” (like when we say “increasing function”) and sometimes it means “an operation f( )” (like when we say “define the function as f(x)=x+2”). Some students, particularly, those sensitive to […]
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Why lecture and how?
Why lecture and how? When you start teaching maths to STEM students it is important to establish first what the students know and what they don’t. The school curriculum changes all the time and you might attract different cohorts in different years, whatever the reason, no two intakes are exactly the same. You can then […]
What are qualities of a good math teacher?
Let us leave aside the personal qualities, such as love and passion for the profession, and concentrate on professional qualities of a good math teacher for modern times. In the past learning was more often than not equated with memorizing and an effective teacher was the one who could come up with most memory devices […]
To MOOC or not to MOOC?
There is a lot of buzz around the MOOC initiative (Massive Open Online Courses). Internet is a marvellous invention and of course, should be used in education. However, creating a really useful resource is a huge undertaking, just filming lectures is not enough. It is a good start, but is not enough. At Sound Mathematics […]
I am listening to a programme on the radio by Alex Bellos extolling the virtues of teaching arithmetics as music. I always feel sad when teachers put competency over comprehension. Of course, at work, competency is king, what matters is only whether you accomplish your tasks and how quickly. But when learning, comprehension should be paramount, eventually it […]
Talking at students or talking to (with) students
I find that before explaining any new concept to students it is very important to find out what they know. No point in going on about something most of the class are familiar with anyway. Equally counter-productive is to skim over the material students find puzzling. Most teachers in higher education assume that students can […]