Date: Jun 5, 1995 12:07 AM Author: JerryTaylr@aol.com Subject: Re: J. Escalante chat on AOL Gary.Hanson@k12.uen.gen.ut.us wrote:

>> If the chat file isn't too big, why not post it here for us all.

OK, here it is....

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TO: Math teachers, Special Ed. teachers

FROM: Jerry Taylor

RE: Live chat with Jaime Escalante

The following transcript is from a live chat with celebrated math teacher

Jaime

Escalante, who currently teaches at Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento,

California. The live chat was held on November 28, 1994. I thought some of

you

might be interested in what he had to say.

OnlineHost : Good afternoon. Scholastic Network is pleased to present, as

part of its November Diversity

series, a visit with Jaime Escalante. Escalante is the inspirational math

teacher who was portrayed in the

motion picture "Stand and Deliver." Today, you can learn first-hand about the

problems Escalante

encountered from school officials when it was assumed that his class had

cheated on exams. You can also

get insight into the making of the film. Now, meet Jaime Escalante!

OnlineHost : Good afternoon and welcome to the Coliseum, Mr. Escalante!

J_Escalante : Good morning!

Question: Mr. Escalante, how do you motivate students of diverse cultural

backgrounds to become so

good in math?

J_Escalante : Well, there are different ways to do that. For one, I use

music. That builds their confidence.

Then, I always use the easy examples and something related to what the kids

do or understand.

Question: Mr. Escalante, I read that you grew up in Bolivia, and taught math

and physics. Why did you

move to the U.S.? Are there any differences in the way math is taught in

each country?

J_Escalante : There is a big difference in the way we teach in Bolivia and

the way we teach over here. In

Bolivia we don't teach with textbooks. The teacher should have the domain of

the subject. I moved from

Bolivia because of the political situation. At that time, there was Che

Guevera. He was trying to change

the political situation in thecountry. It was just time to move to the United

States.

Question: Here is a question from TEEFCO: I feel strongly that we should be

teaching our children

algebra earlier in their schooling, like at fourth grade, instead of going

back and boring them with some of

it later. Is there any chance that this could be done?

J_Escalante : The kids should be exposed to algebra when they are in 6th or

7th grade. I don't agree with

the system that teaches algebra one and algebra two--they are the same--we

have to give the kids new stuff

every day, excite them with new concepts. If you don't, they are going to

drop the class. There should be a

new concept every day.

Question: LMCMILTON asks: What was it like teaching math to gang members?

J_Escalante : It's fun. Once you get the click from these kids, they are

going to learn. Sometimes it takes

a lot of time. You have to make them believe they can do it.

Question: AaronH262 asks: My daughter is a junior at HJWest Campus, how can I

keep her interested in

her trig with Mr. Chayo?

J_Escalante : Practical applications with trig really motivates kids. Not

just using the calculator, but

doing practical problems is the key. Practice is the key tosuccess.

Question: Who got you started teaching math?

J_Escalante : You know, I had lousy teachers back home in Bolivia. I decided

to take the algebra book

and do the problems myself. In practice, I found the secret on how to do the

problems. I taught myself.

Question: This is from KMFisher: What was it like to see"your story" on the

big screen? Were you happy

with the depiction?

J_Escalante : Well, It didn't excite me. I feel excited when these kids get

to go to college.

Question: Sea Lions asks this: Mr. Escalante, as a veteran math teacher, do

you think high school

graduates of today are more or less capable in general math skills than

graduates of twenty years ago?

J_Escalante : The answer is simple. Less. today the kids see the school as a

punishment. Twenty years

ago, it was a privilege. To go to any college it was a privilege.

Question: GLUMPS asks: Where do you live now?

J_Escalante : Sacramento CA, Granite Bay.

Question: MathTeach sends this: What are your current projects? Are you still

teaching in CA?

J_Escalante : Absolutely. I am still teaching. I have 5 periods. Algebra,

basic math, calculus and trig. In

fact, we have 35 eleventh graders in calculus.

Question: A comment from DBailey42: The movie about you was very

inspirational.

Question: Jeisrael asks: Mr. Escalante, how close to reality was the movie

STAND AND DELIVER?

J_Escalante : It is a positive image. Some schools are using the movie. I

think it is a big plus for

education. 90 percent of what you see in "Stand and Deliver" is true.

Question: How has your health been holding up?

J_Escalante : I'm still kicking. I'm kicking forward now. Playing a strong

defense. I hope I can

accomplish what I have in mind to do. I am being observed by doctors...God

has been so good with me.

Question: How important is the family unit when working with your students?

J_Escalante : That is the main thing. It is really important. School alone

can not educate. We need that

unit. We need the help of the parent.

Question: DSJW asks: Did you like Edward James Olmos' interpretation of you

in the film? I thought it

was excellent!

J_Escalante : Yes. He did a good job. He spent 3 months in the class room.

Can you believe in the 3

months he didn't learn any math? But, he did a good job playing my role.

Question: This one comes from GOBEARS68: Do you think kids today have a more

difficult time in

learning because of the fear they endure about guns and violence?

J_Escalante : Yes sir. It is more difficult to motivate the kids today than

it was 20 years ago. One of the

negative factors is the gang. Another is the music. Kids today are more

interested in sex, drugs and

music. It makes it difficult for a teacher to motivate the kids because this

conflict takes away the creativity

of the kids. They are more involved in the CD or video tapes or cassette

players, so they are killing time,

listening and watching. Also TV has a tremendous influence. The programs that

are negativeto education,

movies that are also negative, they are a negative influence.

Question: MCenteno asks this: Do you think bilingual education is working or

has it become a sacredcow

that is impossible to get rid of?

J_Escalante : You know, that is a difficult question to answer at this stage.

I do agree in the fact that the

teaching can be bilingual, but once the student understands the language, we

need to work in the language

that the student is going to be using in life.

Question: From SBrech855: Do you believe it is a flaw in the (design of

educational) materials--or the

delivery--that has led to poor performance in math and sciences?

J_Escalante : We have good text books, we have good materials in the public

schools--the problem is we

have to know if the materials are acceptable to the group we are

teaching--like minority schools. The

teacher has to decide if the materials are going to be effective in the class

he is teaching. He has to adjust

that to the environment

Question: LMCMILTON asks: We are from Milton, Wi. How did you get interested

in teaching math?

J_Escalante : That's an easy one. I started teaching at age 21. At the end

of my first year of teaching, I

noticed I was not doing the homework. I thought it was an easy job, but I saw

I had to adjust the materials.

I am still making mistakes

Question: VMTSchCFA asks: What do you feel will be the impact of Proposition

187 to the educational

system and to Hispanics in particular?

J_Escalante : That's a political issue. I'm just a teacher. I dedicate most

of the time to the success of the

students. 187 is a political issue. I am just an educator

Question: MCenteno sends this: Why did you quit teaching in LA? I quit

working with a large

federalbureaucracy and was wondering what your reasons were.

J_Escalante : That's tough. I have personal problems...I was not getting

along with teachers' union

representatives

Question: Rescuing asks this: Mr. Escalante, Howdo you deal with the problem

of heterogeniously

grouped classroom settings?

J_Escalante : That is the common denominator. Today, we have three kinds of

the students: the good, the

bad and the lazy. It is more difficult for the teacher when the kids don't do

anything and so I have to

concentrate more on the lazy kids

Question: Accura1 asks: Do you think that text books are good or bad?

J_Escalante : We have the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of them are really

good. It is impossible to

find one that will satisfy 100 percent. That is when the teacher has to use

his knowledge. Teaching is

sharing knowledge

Question: From LMCMILTON: Milton, WINorthside Intermediate: How did you get

all those

famouspeople to come to your class?

J_Escalante : Jack Dilman--from FASE. We decided to use basketball or

football or other things in real

life. He came up with the idea of having Magic Johnson and others in the

classroom. I have to give the

credit to FASE

Question: From MSeagles: Southeast Webster, Dayton, Iowa, 8th grade: How many

gang members have

you had in your classes?

J_Escalante : When I was in East LA, quite a few. Many many. In each period I

had at least 2 or 3 about

15 years ago

Question: DerekW719 asks: Auburn University; Auburn, AL. Do you ever

experience burn-out? What is

your solution to it, Mr. Escalante?

J_Escalante : Yes, sometimes when I feel that you haven'taccomplished what I

had in mind, I play cool

and leave for the day, but I never take the problems home. The next day, you

have the energy of a volcano

Question: From JoeSax: I took Algebra 1 last year in 8th grade. Our teacher

showed us the movie "Stand

& Deliver" at the end of the year. I believe it boosted my efforts in all my

subjects. How were you 'selected'

for this movie?

J_Escalante : There were three companies interested in making the movie. Tom

Moska from UCLA was

interested in taping a series of motivational teaching tapes for kids and

teachers. From here, Tom Moska

decided to make the movie

Question: TLatham asks this: What should a student take first, calculus or

physics? Watchung Hills HSin

NJ

J_Escalante : It goes along. Once the kid has a strong background in Algebra

II and Trig, physics comes

easily. It goes a little beyond that in upper physics. Then they can use

calculus

Question: AHedquist sends this: How do you feel about combining subjects,

such as math and physics, to

show the real world relationships and implications of math?

J_Escalante : That is a wonderful idea. That is exactly what I do in the

class. Physics and math go

together. That's the real math

Question: DLilah asks this: How important was the family in helping their

kids get an education?

DLilah,Chicago

J_Escalante : It is 100 percent important. The family participation (makes

it) much easier. The student is

going to learn discipline, responsibility and determination

Question: Ebleeb2 asks: What are some ways of boosting student confidence?

J_Escalante : Make them believe in themselves, ask them to come every

day--have a perfect attendance.

Stimulate the students.

Question: TLatham asks: Was anything left out of your movie "Stand and

Deliver" that you wish was

included? SamirGinde of Watchung NJ

J_Escalante : Yes. To prove that anyone can learn. Anyone can do it if they

have the desire. Set your

goals and go for it. I wish to include the tremendous success I had with the

other classes. 1982 was not the

only one. Previous and after we had great kids who today are professionals

Question: MARKH2833 asks this: How would you describe an effective

relationship between student and

teacher?

J_Escalante : The teacher is a coach. Understanding that a coach is only as

good as the talent of the

team--that builds confidence between the student and the teacher.

Question: What's one important thing we can do to motivate our students to

persevere in math? Sherry,

SilverSpring, MD

J_Escalante : Usually say this to the students: "Anywhere you go, anything

you do is going to be related

to this language called Math. You must master the language. And that

language is just estimation, and

estimation is Mathematics."

Question: What is your opinion of the Goals 2000 plan proposed the US

Department of Education?

J_Escalante : I go along with that, but we have to make sure it is going to

work and we need to train the

teachers in such a way that it is going to be an effective program

Question: Audrey IT asks: What is the "easiest" way you find to motivate

students not interested in the

subject matter? Do you feel that too much time is spent on discipline in the

classroom?

J_Escalante : It is more important what the kids are learning. One thing I do

with kids who don't want to

do anything is sign a contract. The contract has 10 points. It is designed to

get the best out of them, to

accomplish what we have in mind

Question: This comes from Brent94: Boiling Springs HS, SMiddleton, PA. Do you

know of people

successfully teaching math via "intensive scheduling" (2 period/day, but the

course is only given for half

the year). I worry about retention over an 8 month idle time.

J_Escalante : I don't agree too much with that. In this school, we have only

three periods, but each period

is about 2 hours and ten minutes in which we help the kids to do the

assignments--classwork and

homework. Only one day of the week do we have the regular period (50 some

minutes). Intensive

scheduling is an o.k. idea.

J_Escalante : There is a workshop kit available which a teacher or

administrator can use to train teachers

on the use of video material like "FUTURES" (the motivational videos

Professor Escalante did. If anyone

wants information about the workshop kit, they should call 213-937-9911(which

is FASE).

OnlineHost : All good things must come to an end! Time has run out for this

event! Thanks very much

for this informative session, Mr. Escalante!

J_Escalante : Thanks for everything!

Online Host : Thanks to you, audience, for stopping by this afternoon! Good

afternoon, everyone! Our

thanks to Scholastic Network for bringing Jaime Escalante to CenterStage.