Lee J. Raubolt
Lee J. Raubolt
The primary goal of teaching a mathematics course at the lower division level is to make the mathematics course support the student’s chosen career path or their goal. This is important for the student because they can relate why they are learning this material. I tell students that they need to understand the concepts and then they have to make sure the answer makes sense for the problem at hand. I want the students to think about what they are learning, instead of just punching numbers into their calculators. Once students are able to think about what they are learning, then they can start turning their fears of mathematics into how to start learning mathematics.
Learning mathematics is very different from just “doing” mathematics. My main goal in the classroom is to empower the students and nurture them so they can start learning instead of just doing. This builds the students’ confidence levels for future mathematics courses. I also want students to learn basic study skills for future classes, such as learning time-management, note-taking and test taking skills. A lot of students in developmental classes do not have these skills perfected.
Another skill that is important in today’s college environment is technology skills. In my mathematic classes, I show students how technology is a tool for them to help them learn math. I tell them that it is only a tool, and that they still need to learn the material so they can advance to their next class.
Students develop in stages during their college years. Depending upon the personality of the student, this development may be faster in some stages and slower in other stages. This all depends upon the student (Erickson, Peters, & Strommer, 2006). Using a model of students learning throughout a higher education institution, William Perry has formulated a predictable student development model in a student’s college career. Knowing this model for student development helps me pave the way for the student to advance to the next stage of their development. This is essential for student success and for the students to reach their goals.
Erickson, B. L., Peters, C. B., & Strommer, D. W. (2006). Teaching first-year college students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.