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Topic: Re: meaningful standards (fwd)
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W Gary Martin

Posts: 80
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: meaningful standards (fwd)
Posted: May 31, 1995 4:17 PM
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Yo Harv! Anyone home?

Gary Martin (that's me!) wrote the message to which you refer, not Steve
Means. And this "girl" is 30 years old. (Note my mention of her taking the
course at the university.) She is a model student -- highly motivated,
takes copious notes in class, does all her homework. I'm sure she eats her
breakfast every morning and gets plenty of sleep, so I doubt if she was
dozing in class. I bet she even knows how to follow directions! Plus she
even makes an effort to understand what she does, not JUST follow
directions. All evidence suggests that it was NOT her lack of alertness but
a lack of motivation on the part of the text and instructor.

This is NOT an isolated problem. How many geometry texts have a whole
section on identifying angles of parallel lines (i.e., which are
corresponding angles)? And then only in the next section is the USE of
these angles mentioned? Almost all, Harv. Who cares about corresponding
angles? They're useless in and of themselves! It's only when you see what
they can tell you about lines that they are of any interest. This "put the
definition before them first" attitude is deadly and stultifying and...

Still awake, Harv? I mean, I know it's late on the east coast and all but
really now, you could have read my message...

Gary Martin

PS: Try to keep up now, Harv. But if her trig course were on another
planet, it would probably be VENUS not MARS! (Did you send me that straight
line on purpose?)

>Steve Means wrote:
>----snip-------------------- there was a rather long silence.
>Finally, she asked, "Why am I computing these ratios anyway?" I burst out
>laughing! What a great question! There was absolutely no reason to do any
>of those problems, other than to drill the definition which was placed up
>front! WHO CARES INDEED! It was useless!
>This girl could only have come from a Trig course on Mars. For a teacher to
>simply define tangent or sine, and then have an advanced math student just go
>home and do a bunch of division problems... is not teaching. In my 23 years
>of teaching, I have never seen this type of an assignment given to a student
>taking trigonometry. I wonder if it is possible that this girl said, "why am
>I computing these ratios anyway?" because she wasn't paying attention in
>class when the teacher explained the concept. Perhaps she missed the correct
>directions for the assignment. Quite often kids (especially high school
>kids) will say something to their parents or freinds that DO NOT accurately
>describe what the teacher explained or described in class. Dan Hart makes a
>good point when he says student learning is directly related to student
>studying and motivation. I really feel that this young lady did not pay
>attention in class on this given day.
>Just my guess....Harv Becker

W. Gary Martin 1776 University Ave.
University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI 96822
Curriculum R & D Group (808)956-9956; FAX (808)956-4984

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