Tuesday, August 22, 2006

As a grad student at U Wisconsin - Madison we have to TA various math classes. This fall I've volunteered myself for one of the education-majors classes. Up to this point I have intentionally tried to teach the highest level classes possible, since these classes tend to get the best students, and invovle the most interesting material, but i decided that if I am going to be involved in education, I should find out more about what goes on at lower levels of the education tree.

Apparently there are a lot of changes being made to the way that math is taught, and there is much controversy about these changes. From what I understand, reform-minded people are trying to encourage problem solving, and group activities over repetition, and individual exercises.

It turns out however that this class is just now undergoing a redesign. In the meantime I get to teach this year with minimal guidance from the math department. Which might be nice for an instructor with some experience who might have some ideas that he has always wanted to try.... but I am not that guy. I'm a guy that has never taught a course like this, and who is worried about not screwing things up. So I'm a little bit stressed right now. I think I'll just stick with tradition and try to teach the class the same way last semester's instructors taught it. I think it will be enough of a chalenge to try to adapt to the different style of teaching that these classes supposedly require (group activities, skipping, singing kumbaya, etc).