Aaron Yang

High school Mathematics teacher,

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Innovative ways of teaching?


I came across this video and have tried to research Mr Sudhir Karandikar and couldn't find anything about his teaching style. I'm currently a first year AP Calculus teacher in an urban district. Just looking for some good models and resources for teaching this demanding subject.

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    Sep 7 2013: Aaron, if I could direct you to one person, it is Alan Schoenfeld of UCBerkeley : http://schoenfeld-mathematicalproblemsolving.wikispaces.com/Alan+Schoenfeld

    Read his actual papers rather than people's summaries of them.

    Nowadays you will have a broad range of students in first year calculus, from below average to extremely well prepared. If after you get your basic program together, you want leads to enhancements for the high end student, I can help you with that.
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      Sep 7 2013: Thanks! I will be reading his papers this weekend, on top of my other papers...that i need to grade.
  • Sep 12 2013: Just because you are "innovative" does not mean you are successful. You can innovate but can you replicate? There are very "innovative" teachers out there who I would flat challenge to replicate their results. Some of them are set aside as examples of great teachers, yet they may not be that great, only successful for a time.

    There is something to be said for solid teaching. Not innovative, but high quality, structured, good teaching to students based on the needs of the kids sitting in front of you.

    The problem with "innovative" is that it can fail if the group in front of you needs something else. I have personally taught, as has any quality teacher, lessons that worked with one group of students successfully and failed miserably with another group of students.

    Do not assume that what worked for one "great teacher" will work for others. Evaluate what they did, look for great examples, then own them and make them the best that you can teach for your students. It sounds like you are off to a great start.
  • Sep 9 2013: In the video Jaime Escalante was mentioned as the inspiration for his work. Escalante: The Best Teacher in America (An Owl Book) by Jay Mathews is an interesting book. Looking at the section on the teaching, it was brought up that the Administration gave Escalante a lot of cover and support. When the principal left, a year later Escalante left. What the movie did not show was Escalante kicking students out of class for not doing homework, pulling the priv. for extra curricular activities.

    I like the 360 method which makes students spend a lot of time doing problems is class with a minimum of lecture and having students work in groups with the better students helping other students. I would also use the Kahn academy as a tool. (need internet access for the students in class and probably out of class)

    If you make changes, you will need cover from the Administration.
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    Sep 9 2013: Aaron, why are innovative methods needed, I took calculus in high school, it was taught in a pretty straightforward way, and seemed to be just fine.

    What do you think Mr. Karandikar might be doing differently?
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      Sep 9 2013: Current teaching practices are focusing towards application of math, instead of solely number crunching/manipulation. Different ways to engage students can help augment the learning process. An engaged/interested student will be more motivated and learn much more efficiently.

      I am also dabbling in different methods of assessing students. Instead of giving number/letter grades on some assignments, I am trying a point system. After a certain number of points earned in a certain concept, I will consider them proficient in that skill.
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        Sep 9 2013: well, the thing that comes to mind, Aaron, is building something, or designing something, or using something, where a lot of calculus is involved. For example, building a model rocket, if indeed calculus is used here. Or designing a model rocket. Or launching one on the school field and predicting where it will go.

        I suppose another idea would be to ask students why they are taking the class and try to design projects off their interests. For example, if a sizable number say they anticipate a military career, they could then design some military item that involves a lot of calculus. In any case, it seems really interesting to know why they are taking the class, I know none of my math teachers ever asked why I was taking the class, seems to me it would have been really good if they had.
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    Sep 9 2013: it brings me an idea about if the teacher will grow with his students since they are in first degree surely at least his students will teach him something new to prove to him they can be free by themselves now and what can make the students of yesterday can make the teachers of tomorrow.
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    Sep 7 2013: Doesn't "innovative" simply mean new; unproven; outside-the-box? First off, DO NOT fail to differentiate (no pun intended) between the medical meaning and the math meaning of the word Calculus. One is abnormal and the other is not, discuss which is which.