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Topic: meaningful standards
Replies: 5   Last Post: May 29, 1995 6:31 AM

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Karen Dee Michalowicz

Posts: 215
Registered: 12/4/04
Re: meaningful standards
Posted: May 28, 1995 11:55 AM
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According to Richard Fouchaux:
> I, on the other hand, am a student teacher in my third year of a three-year
> program doing my B.Ed. concurrently with my B.Fine Arts, Music. The fact that
> I enjoy and have proven good at teaching math has been a welcome surprise.

Dear Richard,
We "old-timers" have spent many years in the classroom (for me,
33 years) and have taken many mathematics pedagogy courses
(math undergraduate, math ed masters, psychology masters). I
am an excellent mathematics teacher. However, this has come
with experience and coursework. And, the longer I am in
mathematics education, I realize the less I know.

> As you may imagine, and your comments indicated, teacher's colleges these
> days are promoting alternative assessment, NCTM standard-based active
> learning, etc., etc..

Actually, I believe that schools of education are promoting
educational pedagogy that engages students in all curriculum
areas. Believe it or not, some of the "new ideas" are ideas
Dewey promoted a half a century ago. I have a mentor who was
born in the l830's whose books are never far away from me. Her
pedegogy was advante guarde for the late l9th century but it
was excellent. If I didn't know she died in l916 I would have
been convinced she was on the committee which developed the
"not-so-new-now" NCTM standards. Her name was Mary Everest

> I had some problems this year teaching integers using these new methods
> (alge-tiles and other, number-line - based manipulatives), to the point that
> the kids themselves said "Can't you just teach us the rules and give us the
> homework? - this is too confusing!". I ended up using both and, as an

We have to be electic in teaching our students. We have to
find the best way for our students and for ourselves to present
the material. I find that teachers who have difficulty in
using manipulatives usually are not comfortable with them
themselves. If I believe in something and understand something
well, I can "sell" it. I know that those who use the algebra
lab gear will (Including myself) will tell you that it is one
of the best ways for students to understand positive and
negative numbers. Learning an algorithm doesn't assure
understanding. If my students can demonstrate understanding to
me using the gear (ah, alternative assessment), I have no problem
with them using the algorithm. Consider the division of
fraction algorithm. How many of you have students who ask,
"Which number do I flip?" This about kills me when I hear
this. But, it does tell me that they don't understand what
they are doing and out comes my unifex cubes.



Karen Dee

Presidential Awardee Mathematics, l994
Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer
Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education
The Langley School in Sciences and Technology
1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA
22012 USA
703-356-1920(w) E-Mail:
Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or--

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