Category Archives: Pedagogy

Techniques that work for me sometimes.

The “I” and the “You” of It All

Somewhere in my teaching career, now 35 years of it, “I” and “You” as grammatical subjects disappeared from my classroom vocabulary.  For instance, “I” don’t need you (the student) to understand this particular concept. “You” (the student) (in my opinion) … Continue reading

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What to Ask

A student you know is having difficulties in a class.  Before giving advice, gather some facts.  Ask these questions. Did you go to every single class? If not, what did you do during those hours? If not, how did learn … Continue reading

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FOIL is Verboten

My students and I have a habit of referring to the act of multiplying two binomial forms as FOILing, recalling the acronym FOIL (First, Outer, Inner, Last) for remembering the process.  My excuse for using the term  is that they use … Continue reading

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The Future of Math Textbooks – Lower Division Variety

  Our department is looking at some open-source textbooks for our  statistics and precalculus classes.  This process elicited the following thoughts expressed in list form. Facts on the Ground. Modern textbooks from mainline publishers are very expensive, $200 and more. … Continue reading

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Too Old for This?

I was going over a written assignment: “Using a calculator, graph f(x)=(x-1)(x-2) and g(x) = |(x-1)(x-2)|.  Describe and explain the difference.”  Several students said there was no difference and produced these graphs copied from their calculators. To demonstrate the error of their … Continue reading

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We Get What We Test For

My post on “fast fractions” elicits the occasional vehement objection to the mechanical nature of the algorithms.  I too would object, though not apoplexically, if the post claimed that those rules were all you need to know (plus reducing to lowest terms) … Continue reading

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Socratic Dialogue – To Have the Time

I have been “volunteering” in our math tutoring center  at SOU for seven years  and before that for 24 years at College of the Siskiyous, ever since I started teaching mathematics.  Working one-on-one with a student  is enlightening, fun, and frustrating. … Continue reading

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