I've ben "lurking" for awhile, enjoying the give and take between proponents of reform and traditional approaches to teaching mathematics. Removing the debate between these two camps, in my opinion, deprives this list of its potential to contibute to improving the efficacy of mathematics pedagogy.
My $0.02 consists of the following:
I am an undergraduate Economics major at the University of Califoria at Riverside. This major (plus some extra requirements for those interested in attending graduate Econ programs) requires quite a bit of mathematics. As someone who spent my years in HS convinced that, as my primary interest was in the social sciences, I would be unlikey to have to use much of what I learned in my math courses in HS, I "skidded through" my math classes investing only the energy that was absolutely neccessary. (Actually, I was pretty attentive in Algebra & Calculus, and "tuned out" a bit during Geometry and Trig) However, the approach in my HS was entirely *traditional.* Because of the level of rigor - I learned alot in spite of myself. The amount of work and thought required merely to get a "C" in these classes was substantial, so even those of us who were basically on cruise control had to be extremely facile with algebraic manipulation, basic computation, and the basic premise of "proof" just to *pass.* Unless kids have changed alot since I graduated, most will do at least what is required to pass a course (even math-haters have egos, failing even a class you despise is pretty humiliating). Because of this I feel it is important, in all subjects to set guidelines that actually represent the minmal level of knowledge someone should have to be considered competent in that subject.
This is my message to HS teachers:
You are not operating ina vacuum. The courses you teach are used as prerequisites to courses that are tought on college campuses. What the Drs. Klein amd Rosen are saying on this list is actually very diplomatic compared to some of what I hear from profs speaking amonst themselves. You are *not* merely teaching the terminal mathematics course in HS, you are teaching the introductory mathematics course in the college math sequence! This dual role must be acknowledged. It is for this reason that I wish this list would not silence the very important voices of those who teach courses for which HS AP Calculus serves as a prerequisite. The total lack of concern for the skill that college professors are very clearly saying hat AP kids need to have to succeed in their classes is shocking to me. With an extremely traditional math background I *still* found myself stuggling in university-level calculus. If it had been any more difficult for me than it was (ie. if my high school had operated in complete disconcern for how its educational techniques might impact my future options) I may have chosen another major merely to avoid the relatively large amount of math that economists be competent in.
Please consider the views expressed by Drs. Klein and Rosen. Although they are critical of your techniques they are trying to tell you something that should be critical to any concerned educator - your students are *failing.* Secondary educators are often heard arguing that kids' feelings/self-esteem need to be adressed in the educational process. How do you think it "feels" for your students to fail classes they will take during their first quarters at the university. Or does their "pain" only matter when they are struggling in *your* classroom, not the following year when they are struggling in someone else's classroom.
To Dr. Boardman:
Please reconsider you new guidelines. I thik that it is very important that HS and college math teachers interact, learn to appreciate how their jobs impact one and other, and struggle to come to some consensus/compromise that might be reasonably satisfactory for all.
I thought it might help to hear from a real, live student (and one whose strongest subject is by no means mathematics.)
Hope this doesn't get censored - if it doesn't I may actually get up the nerve to contribute to this list again in the future.....
Sincerely, Robyn Miller
---------- > From: jerry rosen <firstname.lastname@example.org> > To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com> > Subject: Re: AP-CALC: Update and Guidelines > Date: Wednesday, June 11, 1997 2:46 PM > > Dear Dr. Boardman, > > I am assuming this message was directed at me. I feel it was quite biased
> of you to allow Larson, Talman et. al. to keep responding to "threads" > you have decided to end. Disagreement tends to be contentious at times - > even if it is sugar coated and these are issues which are hotly debated > all over the country and the world. In Australia virtually every college > math professor in the country (750) signed a petetion to abolish reform > mathematics (which suffered from the same problems as American reform) > and the Prime Minister got on national TV to attack reform too. > > I disagree that some of these posts are "intellectually stimulating" - > the posts which are not related to the debate are of the "gee-golly isn't
> this great" variety. I am glad teachers are feeling good about reform, > but here at CSUN we see the end result of reform and it isn't a pretty > picture - hundreds (and over time thousands) of calulus students who > can't do basic algebra and don't know how to study and prospective K-8 > teachers who don't know arithmetic and have been told that is not a problem. > > One thing all these students can do is use their calculators and play > with their computers. > > Did you bother to read those articles I forwarded which you refused to > forward to the group? > > I must say I think your censorship borders on violation of my > constitutional rights and I plan to look into this and discuss this issue
> with other mathematicians and an attorney who specializes in internet > issues. > > Recently my campus allowed David Duke to speak. > > The ideas I advocate are exactly opposite of his and as I have said the > group of students harmed the most by the reform movement are the minorities. > > What are you afraid of? > > Jerry Rosen > > > > On Wed, 11 Jun 1997, Michael Boardman wrote: > > > Greetings, > > > > As you all know, the reform vs traditional discussion on this list has been= > > quite emotional. A couple of threads (discussion of WLL and the Top 5= > > list) have been especially contentious. To make room for more= > > intellectually stimulating and profitable discussions, these threads have= > > been ended. Also, recent posts containing copywrighted articles without= > > permission for reproduction cannot be distributed. If such material is= > > available on the internet, perhaps a message with the URL of the article= > > would be appropriate. =20 > > > > The purpose of this list is to discuss ideas. Posts containing derogatory= > > remarks about individuals or groups of people will be discarded. In our= > > discussions, let us remember that every person subscribed to this list= > > shares the common goal of the intellectual enrichment of our students and= > > therefore deserves our respect. =20 > > > > Sincerely,=20 > > Michael Boardman > > Moderator, AP-CALC > > > > > > GUIDELINES > > This is a moderated group for use by faculty consultants to the=20 > > Reading, AP teachers, those thinking about teaching AP Calculus,=20 > > and college faculty interested in what AP is all about. Feel free to=20 > > send a message to AP-CALC@ETS.ORG introducing=20 > > yourself and your school to the other members. > > > > This group is not designed to answer questions about program policy > > or exam administration. Please direct them to APEXAMS@ETS.ORG.=20 > > =46or information about the AP Reading: APREADER@ETS.ORG > > > > Neither the College Board nor Educational Testing Service shall be > > held liable for the information transmitted through this group. > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------------ > > Michael Boardman > > Department of Mathematical Sciences > > Pacific University > > 2043 College Way > > =46orest Grove, OR 97116 > > ------------------------------ > > 503-359-2862 (VOICE) > > 503-359-2933 (FAX) > > firstname.lastname@example.org > > http://redrocks.cs.pacificu.edu/~boardman > > ------------------------------------------------------------------- > > > > > >