Discussion:  Roundtable 
Topic:  Finding Time 
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Subject:  Find time by changing priorities 
Author:  Chuck 
Date:  Mar 20 2003 
You have touched on the real issue. We do not have enough time to do everything
we used to, and still have group activities, explorations, handson work,
learning math by writing, etc. We are going to have to do less but do it
better, and thus better achieve the highest goals of math education.
I consider that I want my student to
(1) gain mastery of certain important skills and (2) develop certain "habits of
mind" or "higher order thinking" ability. I want students to become problem
solvers willing to discover instead of having me teach them algorithms, students
able to think mathematically with an instinct to generalize who demand to know
"why?"
I teach Calculus, and if students come to me with these habits of mind but have
not seen the halfangle formula or the law of cosines, I can teach them the
necessary skills and applications very easily. Not mastering a few skill here
and there is not a real problem if the student can think mathematically. I
think it is a mistake to allow our courses to become too curriculum based where
we "cover material" but not develop scholarship.
Chuck
 
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