> How many teachers out there try to each their students to be self-sufficient? > Why can't the students be taught to read the book or books and learn the > subject on their own? I have found that students who learn to read and > understand the math text go way beyond the rest of the class. Has anyone > done much with this? > > Kent > I don't know what level of mathematics you're talking about (and perhaps it really doesn't matter, but in my unhappy experience, the majority of university mathematics teachers are simply reading a synopsis of the textbook out of their notes when they lecture: definition, theorem, proof, repeated in an interminable stream for the entirety of the period. Once in a blue moon, there's some motivation; of course, the occasional "pause for questions" (Arethereanyquestions?No?Good.The next theorem. . .) shouldn't be forgotten. So the suggestion that students who can learn from the book will fare best has an ironic component that perhaps you don't intend to convey.
Further, your post raises a further question: why bother to have teachers at all? Let's face it: the kids who are serious are going to do the work, in and out of class. The others are slackers who probably will wind up in a job where the most demanding question they'll have to deal with is "Could you Supersize that, please?" Why should we knock ourselves out with cooperative learning, student-centered classrooms, and other pedagogical approaches that require thought, effort, and constant reflection and revision on our part when most of the students are too intellectually (and probably morally) bankrupt to benefit from our efforts?
[Anyone not familiar with my ideas might want to down a Supersized portion of NaCl with that previous paragraph.]