Projects
days until the end of spring semester.days until Snakes on a Plane.
Boxes unpacked
Math article project
Finished mathematical core of article. Next: Write analytical core of article.
Dummit and Foote, Abstract Algebra
Finished section 1.6 (86 to go)
Silverman and Tate, Rational Points on Elliptic Curves
FInished 2.5 (31 to go)
Conway, Functions of One Complex Variable I
Finished section 7.5 (27 to go)
Munkres, Topology
Finished section 21 (60 to go)
Royden, Real Analysis
Finished section 2.4 (97 to go)
Nonfiction book project
Todo list uptodate
Fiction book project
1443 out of 100,000 projected words written.
Top 100 novels of all time
Reading Ulysses
IMDB top 250 films
Tengoku to jigoku next in queue.
Blogroll
This academic life
Academic CoachConfessions of a Community College Dean
Learning Curves
The Little Professor
My Hiding Place
New Kid on the Hallway
One Bright Star
Planned Obsolescence
Tall, Dark, and Mysterious
Math blogs
Ars MathematicaMathForge
MathPuzzle
Think Again
Archives

July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
December 2004
January 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
08:51What makes a teacher highly qualified?
I'll go a step farther and say that math teachers need to know not only the subject matter that they teach but at least two years of progress in the subject area beyond what they teach. It's not enough to know what's in the book, you need to know what the book is preparing students to do in their next class.
And this applies to the people writing the books too. I've ranted before (and I'll rant again) about "geometry" problems like:
Angles 1 and 2 are supplementary. If angle 1 has measure 2x+1 and angle 2 has measure x2, what is the measure of angle 1 in degrees.That's not a geometry problem and as far as I know it doesn't correspond to any actual use of geometry. It's an algebra review pretending to be a geometry problem. Maybe if we dumped problems like this we wouldn't have to offer geometrywithoutproofs classes.
So I would argue that we need to have educated people writing the standards and we need to have teachers who know the material inside and out. Frankly, I think that the tests that I've seen are in fact inadequate. The test that I took for certification only verified that I can do high school mathematics. It didn't test any sort of understanding or ability to connect knowledge within different subtopics in the discipline or across disciplines. There's no point, for example, asking Calculus questions unless you also address how calculus and physics are related.
But there is the very real issue of ability to teach, and this is an ability that is gained only in one way: By actually being in front of a classroom and teaching. And I have yet to see any multiplechoice test that can measure that. Apparently, at one point in California, there was an actual simulated classroom test for credentialing, with college students pretending to be the (unruly) high school students a teacher might face. Now there's an idea that's worth resurrecting.
So bottom line, I agree with Assorted Stuff that the standards for "highly qualified" are insufficient, but I disagree in that I think that demonstration of subject area competence is necessary.