Re: [xmca] passive or active classroom

From: <TVMathDude who-is-at>
Date: Wed Oct 29 2008 - 22:15:03 PDT

Not sure that I can add substantially to the discussion, but I have been
dealing with the nature of my classroom on a day to day basis.
   - I spend the first three hours of class setting up the reality that will
exist for the remainder of the course [College Algebra or Statistics}.
   - I do so in a manner that involves as many students as possible in the
culture that will be created.
   - Because I teach each student, rather than the class, it is audibly
active for some, visually active for some, and internally active for most.
   - I encourage my extroverts to engage in a dialog with each other and my
introverts to watch, listen and ponder.
   - Often the dialog is not about mathematics, but rather the group
develops a culture for their group within the broader culture of the classroom. As
more is shared , the culture strengthens.
   - Friendships are established that last beyond the college years. [This
is a result of using MBTI to group like types.
   - I perceive the presentation/lecture portion of the course as passive,
and as a consequence limit the length to 5 minutes or less. I us a form of ZPD
in that I explain a process from start to finish as the initial contact with
a concept. Subsequently, I have the students complete a small portion of the
process, then most of the process, then all.
   - I have also changed the manner in which they prepare for an assessment.
I provide each group [3 or 4 students seated at a table] with a set of
questions or problems. I then say "Don't leave class until you can answer the
question successfully and know why you were able to achieve success." The initial
learning takes place within my classroom. Work outside strengthens the
   - While some might have been passive during the presentation stage, I
have observed every student engaged in this review process. The noise level in
the room is amazing.
For me, learning takes place within the context of the dialog between
individuals. That it is the act of listening in order to respond intelligently,
that requires the student to organize their ideas in a fashion meaningful to
them, and then to attempt to communicate those ideas in a manner meaningful to
the other person(s). By grouping students of similar MBTI, I believe that
attunement among the people in the group has a high probability and contributes
to the success of the dialog.
I believe quite strongly that it is essential to create a positive,
supportive, respectful social environment. The vast majority of the students are
taking the courses because they are required by the GER, not because they like or
are successful in mathematics. Some are scared to death.
But I always keep in focus a concept I developed while teaching mathematics
live on television - I am having a dialog with one individual. In the
classroom [28 to 35 students] I watch each student to see the degree to which they
are engaged or lost.
Am I making sense? It sounds right for me, but maybe not for everyone.
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Received on Wed Oct 29 22:17:39 2008

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