Regarding Joaquin Carbonara's post regarding Nancy Garman's earlier post (both appended, in part, to the end of this message).
When I read Nancy's post I interpreted it very differently than you did, Joaquin. I went back and read it again to see what you were basing your comments on. I still interpret it very differently.
I perceived Nancy as someone who was struggling with issues of improving her teaching and interested in solutions to immediate problems as well as broader issues. This is precisely the type of teacher that I would want children to have. In my experience, teachers who "have it all figured out" are best at teaching children that mathematics is a fixed body of unconnected facts and skills that need to be memorized. That is not what I want children to learn.
I also perceived her expressions of intimidation as being directed towards the negative tenor and tone of this list (of which your post is a prime example) which comes primarily (totally?) from posters with university addresses. Nancy expressed concerns that I believe all non-stagnant teachers have, followed by a reasonable question about a new list, and was met by a personal-slam against her teaching ability.
The first rule (in my book) of having a good discussion is a non-threatening environment for all participants. Questioning other discussants' professional capabilities does not do this. Although I enjoy satire and sarcasm as much as (maybe more than) the next person, I don't think they contribute to creating a non-threatening environment either. Perhaps we need one list where we "university-types" try to out-do each other and another where the subscribers encourage each other to make progress from their individual starting points (I'm only partially kidding).
Laura R. Van Zoest Department of Mathematics & Statistics Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI 49008 Phone: (616) 387-4527 Fax: (616) 387-4530 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posts referred to above:
Nancy Garman wrote: ****...Perhaps I've been a bit intimidated by all the university folks out there insulting each other and arguing theory and ideals. ... ...I would be interested in hearing from more classroom teachers. Is this list reserved for "discussing" the meaning of the standards - or for those of us in the classroom trying to implement those standards in the early levels. If this is for university types - is there a different list for elementary teachers who need encouragement and new ideas?****
JOAQUIN O CARBONARA wrote: ****Suppose, just suppose that the parent of a child read about the way Nancy feels: 1) Feeling intimidated by discussing theory and ideals 2) Feeling intimidated by the University environment 3) Needing encouragement and new ideas about teaching Mathematics Do you think he would feel safe with his child being taught Mathematics by her? I have a child, and have taught seriously about doing home schooling after hearing teachers talk like Nancy.*******