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Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Monday, November 03, 2003

13:28
Observations 

I'm becoming a bit more active with the classes that I observe now, during the seatwork time, I'm joining the teacher in helping students with questions.

I'm not sure I really approve of how seatwork is handled by my mentor teacher: For most students it's a chance to try and finish the homework so that they don't have to do homework at home (but then, it's not actually homework, is it).

The other problem I have is that she has a tendency to just not teach things that the kids aren't getting. For example, the class was looking at graphs for exponential decay (ax where a<1). She wanted them to put the bases in ascending order, but decided that since they were all expressed as fractions, that since they had difficulty ordering fractions, she'd have them convert to decimals.

Argggh! If they have difficulty ordering fractions, then they need to do it more, not less! She actually had a day to fill in her schedule, so if she slipped by a day, then it wasn't going to be a problem.

Then there was the issue of the crappy ordering of information in the book. I spent some time looking at the book and determined that doing the chapters out of order wasn't really a big problem: We could do chapter 10, slip in graphing quadratics from 9.3 part way through, then after 10 was finished, go back to chapter 9.

But the official school curriculum puts chapter 9 in the fall semester and 10 in the spring. We can't do the switch. What kind of idiocy is that?

Geometry? It's geometry without proofs. This should be banned to the deepest pits of hell. You may as well have English class without writing assignments. Or science class without experiments. But we play the hands we're dealt, I suppose.

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