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Topic: Re: one person's opinions
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Greg Goodknight

Posts: 1,233
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: one person's opinions
Posted: Aug 10, 2000 6:42 PM
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-----Original Message-----
From: Murray Siegel <>
To: <>
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
>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

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