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Topic: Lecture/C0=operative learning
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Posts: 133
Registered: 12/6/04
Lecture/C0=operative learning
Posted: Jun 30, 1995 2:17 PM
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Kevin Maguire writes:

<< Reading the postings over the last few days there appears to be a
schism developing between "lecturing" and "co-operative learning". Need
this split develop? I don't consider it necessary to divide into one
group or the other. I believe that "lecturing" can be encompassed into
the "co-operative learning" model.
At the commencement of each session all that Ben Preddy lists can
be included (albeit in a "not too long" monologue) as an introduction.>>

I believe that what he is describing is not really what I consider a
lecture. A lecture is the presentation of material by the teacher with
the students listening and taking notes or what ever else they do. An
interactive lecture has the teacher asking questions and leading the
class through some line of reasoning or problem solving. This is a step up
from a 50 minute lecture but the focus is still on the teacher as the
source of correct information. In the group process it is very helpful
for the teacher to bring the class back together to focus on a particular
problem or question through an interactive approach (a mini lecture) or
by asking the groups to explain their ideas or rationale. Other groups
can observe or comment or even discuss or argue their points. It is
marvelous to see students debating mathematical problems just like they
would debate politics or art or peotry. If this process is used then the
teacher becomes the facilitator and even participant rather than expert on
high. Imagine the teacher being viewed as a peer versus controller. It
takes a lot of confidence to put yourself in that position. I can tell you
also that students resist this too. They think they want to be told what
to do. Then they go home and wonder why they can't repeat what I did in a
lecture in class. I rarely get that response when we work togewther in
class and they resolve issues before they try the homework.
I get the feeling that some people who favor the lecture approach
misunderstand group learning and presume it is anarchy with the teacher
left out of the picture. A effective group process has the instructor
deeply involved in every part of the process but is a more subtle fashion.
It takes a lot of preparation to work up group exercizes and then to
facilitate them. Also you cannot do the exact same thing every class or as
someone mentioned students will become bored with that too. Part of the
lure of group work is the idea that you will do different things
in class. For example I do a class where we cannot talk. I use it to
highlight the exponent rules. Students may write on the board, try sign
language or anything else they can think of to show/explain how multiple
operations with exponents work. First we do it in groups of 4-5 then we come
back and try to go over some complicated problems on the board, by having
individuals or more use non-verbal communication to explain problems. At
first everyone is very hesitant and wary but as the class moves on they
catch on to the visual nature of working with exponents and begin to have
fun. By the end of the class everyone is quite tired because they are
concentrating so hard, which is a byproduct conclusion of the lesson. Math
takes greatr concentration and is physically tiring. Most students do not
realize this. I could lecture them on the need to be rested and well fed to
do math effectively but it would not make an impression on them. This way they
live through the experience and some tell me later they never forget how tirted they were.
This brings people back to class to see what is going to happen next
time. If we don't do anything unusual they are still happy to work with their
friends and wait for the next special exercize. I am not bragging when I say
that they tell me their algebra class is their favorite and they actually
look forward to coming to a math class. I take only 33% credit the process
gets the rest.

Ted Panitz

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