-----Original Message----- From: Murray Siegel <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> Date: Tuesday, August 01, 2000 12:34 PM Subject: Re: one person's opinions
> I have recently joined the AMTE list and would like to add a few >comments to the pot. In order for you to judge my perspective, let me >provide a brief description of my background. I am finishing my first year >at Sam Houston State University. I spent the previous 25 years teaching >mathematics at every ability level and at every grade level from first >grade through BC Calculus in five school districts in Arizona, Georgia and >South Carolina. > > I would first suggest that we have a separate "Dueling Mathematics >Educators" listserv to provide a venue for those who want to argue rather >than debate, for those who wish to personalize their arguments and for >those who refuse to stop pounding their opinions into the heads of others >who have shown no interest in considering those opinions. > > Let me answer three questions: > >1. What is the key point of Liping Ma's dissertation? >2. What is the best method to teach mathematics in elementary school? >3. Who should solve the problems of teaching mathematics in the elementary >schools? > >1. American teachers seem to have more education but Chinese teachers >display more knowledge. A key factor in being able to successfully teach >mathematics in elementary school is the teacher's understanding of >fundamental mathematical concepts. >2. The best method for an individual teacher is the method that he or she >thinks is best. If I am an effective teacher and believe that teaching via >lecture using a Saxon text is the best delivery system, it will be for me. >Although I personally use small group activities and discourse to teach >mathematics, there is a place for lecture in the classroom. I get really >upset with those folks who proclaim the failure of the "sage on the stage." >I recall Dr. Philip Fagg, my World Civilization professor. He lectured >without notes for one hour at a time and I could have listened to him for >hours on end. He was a wonderful lecturer and my appreciation of world >history was stimulated by his lectures much more that it would have been by >sitting with a group of other students discussing our visions of the >meaning of history. On the other hand, a mathematics professor I had in >graduate school was a terrible lecturer - I fell asleep in his class - but >when he used a version of the Moore method, my learning of mathematics was >truly stimulated. >3. In my (less than humble) opinion, no person should have major input into >identifying solutions to the problems of teaching mathematics in elementary >school until he or she has actually taught there. Not for a day as a >guest, but for six weeks, every day. Once one understands the dynamics of >the school situation first hand, then I will listen with enthusiasm for >that person's ideas on how to improve learning.
I spent a year teaching algebra at an intermediate school, so I guess I pass this particular hurdle. I also agree with your other sentiments completely.
> >If you have read this far, thanks for letting me "vent." > > Murray Siegel > > > >