Originally posted by DarkBaron:
As many of you know, I instruct courses in mathematics. I recognize that
1) most of you hate math here, so you are the perfect audience to ask
Note: I don’t hate all math (love algebra); given enough time and practice, I normally like it.
What is something you would like to see from an instructor (in a problem solving session) that will help you to solve it? Do you prefer it if the instructor solves everything out mechanistically and then asks you to help him solve the next similar problem? Or do you prefer he start from scratch on the first one, and encourage participation on each step of the process?
Probably the best thing to do would be to solve a sample question on the board, and give the students some same questions (similar to that) to work on themselves.
I can’t emphasize this enough (at least for me): Examples/templates are golden. I find that this applies to most left-brain topics. Right now I’m soldiering my way through an accounting course. What is the only way I’m still hanging on? Looking at numerous examples of balance sheets, income statements, etc. to see what goes where. It really helps to bridge the gap between theory and actually putting it into practice.
So if you can, provide your students with some solid examples or handouts they can refer back to.
2) You’re too shy to ask a question you’re struggling with. As someone who doesn’t read minds, we cannot anticipate your difficulties. How would you like your instructor to approach the problem, assuming he did anticipate your difficulties?
And I can’t emphasize this one enough—never treat your students like they are stupid or suffer a knowledge deficit because they ask questions. Be even glad they are curious enough to seek out the knowledge. I was in a course once where students got in some sort of trouble for asking the instructor any type of questions, and instead had to guess or look up the information on the internet and just hope they had it right. Some students were failed for seeking answers (one, a male friend of mine who really just loved the subject and wanted to learn).
Right now I’m asking an instructor numerous small questions about accounting, because among other things, he seems like a hard grader, and he invited us to ask early. So, just invite/encourage your students to come to you early with any questions they have. And mean it.
<3) Do you prefer seeing alternative ways to solving a problem, or would you rather see one method used universally to every problem you see (I strongly advise against the latter).
Alternate ways. Everyone learns differently. Some get it out of reading, some by examples, some by practice, etc. There’s not a one size fits all to learning, so offering different options is great.
If you can provide insight for calculus that would be lovely.
I can’t provide insight on calculus—thank God—but as my husband is an engineering student and is still struggling to pass Calculus II, I’ll ask him to pop in here and give feedback.