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Topic: nctm: The Standards at the college level
Replies: 8   Last Post: Feb 28, 1995 9:16 AM

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Dr. Susan Addington

Posts: 21
Registered: 12/6/04
nctm: The Standards at the college level
Posted: Feb 24, 1995 6:23 PM
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Rick Simon gave some suggestions for applying the spirit of
the Standards (in my opinion) in college level courses.
He suggested getting students more involved in reading
mathematics by giving "pre-quizzes" on material the students
were supposed to read, but had not heard in a lecture.

I would like to hear more discussion about
(a) reading mathematics as an aspect of mathematical communication;
we hear a lot about having students write, but little about
reading texts, which, after all, are a rich source of mathematical
material. (Well, not all texts, but books are still good things.)
(b) getting out of the lecturing rut at the college level.

I am teaching a course in topology for math majors.
This is a hard topic for many students, and I despair when
I see terrified blank stares from some of them.
One thing I have tried that seems to help is, after a new
concept, giving a simple example for the students to discuss
in pairs for a few minutes. This is the kind of thing
that one usually discusses by lecturing. Most students
are in note-taking mode, which is often the opposite of thinking
mode. By making them each say something, they have to wake up
and start thinking about the new concept.

[Historical note: Point-set topology has been taught by discovery
methods for many decades--the Moore method, or Texas topology.
However, this isn't feasible for a 10-week course in which
many new concepts must be introduced and understood.]

Susan Addington (
Math Department, California State University
San Bernardino, CA 92407
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