Q&A #17718

high school math reform

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From: ---
To: Teacher2Teacher Service
Date: Oct 08, 2006 at 20:22:37
Subject: high school math reform

For high school math teachers, 
  I'm a second year geometry teacher in a parochial school.  I'm taking 
alternate route classes in education theory for certification, but I'm 
anxious about teaching math in public schools.

My teaching method is "classical", in other words, I teach more or less 
the book material and let the class practice together or on their own.  I 
assign a lot of homework every night.  I don't have a "lesson plan" that 
appeals to higher thinking for every topic.  I will answer questions 
about applications if students ask, but I tend to stray from the idea of 
introducing integral calculus, for example, in a geometry class.  I find 
the students either don't understand it or don't appreciate its power and 
therefore calculus is trivialized.

I have heard a lot about the "discovery learning" geometry method, and I 
have ordered the book.  I'm trying to be open-minded about education 
theory and different approaches to math, but what I don't understand is 
how Asian students can master classically taught mathematics at quite an 
early age, but American students cannot.  This is really frustrating to 
me, and by "changing" (notice I didn't say dumbing down) mathematics 
education in America, are we teachers really saying "No, American kids 
can't do classical math anymore"?

I'd love to hear some responses from high school math teachers...

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