I require students in my college math classes to "read their text with understanding," and I test them over that reading. I also seldom "explicate" the text, preferring to supplement with materials that complement the text but do not reiterate. [I make exceptions for material I consider difficult reading--and I also provide some activities and assignments to help develop critical reading skills along the way]
Relatively few students appreciate my approach until years later. They are used to having math texts that are used primarily as a source of homework exercises, and they have tended to read the narrative portion only when they were having difficulty with an exercise and were trying to find an example in the book "just like the exercise they were working." They also discover that such an approach requires much more learning on their part because now they have to actually read the text, still do exercises and problems, and also understand all the extra supplemental material. But a small number of students who are genuinely interested in learning appreciate the extra knowledge that results and some students do recognize the self-empowerment that comes with such independent reading and comprehension skills.
Unfortunately, I find that some of my university colleagues either do not require such reading, or at least they never test or probe a student's understanding of the narrative portion of a text.
Personally, I could not have functioned as a professional math educator had I not been a very critical reader. It remains an essential skill.
Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225 firstname.lastname@example.org
On Fri, 30 Jun 1995 Lutemann@aol.com wrote:
> 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 >