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Topic: Re: Elementary Teachers
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Laura R. Van Zoest

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Elementary Teachers
Posted: Aug 7, 1995 9:18 AM
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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

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?****

****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.*******

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