Category: Impasse

Better to be Frustrated than Bored

For all of you who have taught students, you know that one of the rewards is seeing the “Aha moments” that students experience. One of the downsides (to instructors) of teaching online is that it is hard to “see” the reward of the “aha” in the same fulfilling way. The reason we should care about the aha moments that students experience is that this kind of moment is tied closely to an emotional feeling. And memories with emotional attachments tend to be stronger (more memorable) than ones with no emotional attachment. But have you ever stopped to think about...

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Celebrate the Errors in Math Practice

Dear math students, As you work through your mathematics practice, I’m going to challenge you to embrace making errors in an entirely new way.  Many students believe that every problem in math homework should be perfectly constructed with no errors. It might look something like this:   But when it’s time to study after the initial problem run-through, what does this perfectly constructed problem say? Does it coach you on remembering how you struggled? Does it remind you where you made an error? No. When you make an error as you’re working a problem, please don’t erase it from the face of the...

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Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport

In November, I gave the keynote at the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Conference in Denver. I have given versions of this talk that are not specific for mathematics, but I don’t have recordings of those. I promise that the math in this talk is not inaccessible and is used more for examples than a framework for the talk. In other words, don’t let the word “math” scare you away. The alternate version of the talk is “Learning is Not a Spectator Sport.” The first half of the video is the awards ceremony, so I’ve directed the...

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Failure is a NORMAL Part of Learning

“Dr. Tae is a skateboarder, videographer, scientist, and teacher. Contrasting his observations of his own learning while skateboarding with the reality that is the current education system, Dr. Tae provides some insight as to how we might better educate in the future.” (from the YouTube description of this great TEDxEastsidePrep video called Can Skateboarding Save Our Schools?) Some observations.  As Dr. Tae says, “Failure is Normal.” Period. You might try to solve a proof or a mathematics problems many times before you succeed at doing it correctly.  You will only learn the correct process by making mistakes.  I’d venture...

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