Orlando Meetings: Presentation Summary

Back to Orlando: Humanistic Math

This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.

Humanistic Mathematics

Do not give in to peer pressure; Usually teachers who make it hard for students to get a good grade and are very demanding of students are praised as great teachers in the department. These teachers do not necessarily attract students to mathematics.

Make it easier for students. This will help them to succeed and as a result get attracted to mathematics.

Do not try to make a great mathematician out of each student. Help students to like mathematics.

Help students change their attitude about mathematics: most students think they are not good at math, since they cannot solve the problem given to them right away or cannot read a mathematics text. Let them know that they need to be patient. It takes time to read a mathematics text or solve a given problem in math.

Treat students with respect! Let them feel like they are your colleagues! Involve students in your research and learning. Experience shows this will help students change their attitudes about mathematics and get interested in the subject.

Help students to feel responsible for their own learning! Do not use grade to intimidate students!

Kazem Mahdavi, State University of New York, College at Potsdam

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