Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday article summary - what is "good" teaching?

When Good Teaching Leads to Bad Results: The Disasters of "Well Taught" Mathematics Courses
Schoenfield, A. Educational Psychologist. (1988)

Original article is available here.

Judging from how often I've come across people referring to this article, everybody but me must have read it long ago. Probably during teacher training? Teacher education in Sweden is ridiculous and at least mine did not include any research articles of any kind. So I read this article today for my own sake, just to figure out what it is everyone else is talking about.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Great Divide

An April post on Research in Practice caught my interest, and made it very clear what's been going on for me the last year and especially since I started daily reading all the great math teaching blogs out there: 
There is a growing divide between my students' and mine perception of what good math teaching and learning looks like. 
Simply put, I'm breaking the math-class contract. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Teaching theories in psychology - how?

In my teaching of psychology, I am keen that my students should have knowledge and understanding of the science behind the concepts, models and theories that I ask them to learn. I do this by giving the students tons of research study summaries, and then ask them to use this research to back up whatever they are arguing in their essays. This is going very well. The students enjoy the studies, are getting very proficient at evaluating them critically, and are recognizing the need for scientific support for whatever claims they are making.  Here is the problem: the students are not learning theories.

Friday article summary - concrete vs abstract?

The Advantage of Abstract Examples in Learning Math
Kaminsky, J. et al. Science. (2008)

When learning new mathematical concepts, for example the concept of mathematical groups of three objects, is it better to start with a concrete example or with a generic representation? This is the question Kaminsky and colleagues at Ohio State University investigated in their 2008 article.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Dan Meyer has his important ratio no. 1 which deals with the worth of instructional decisions as a ratio of instructional value and time expended in class (or out-of-class homework).  It's student focused: the time expended is student time, and rightly Dan wants to maximize value per minute.

I think I need to develop my own important ratio, and it needs to deal with my time planning and evaluating lessons and student performance.  It could go something like this:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday article summary - is cooperative group work bad?

This term, I'm actually supposed to being taking a course which entails me to read and think about research articles in the teaching of mathematics. So to help me stay on track I'll use Fridays to read and comment articles.
First out: 

Relationship between student and instructional factors and algebra achievement of students in the USA and Japan: an analysis of TIMSS 2003 data. 
J. Daniel House and James A. Telese. (2008)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Formative assessment

This week was a conference week, with several general and subject specific conferences for all city-employed teachers in Stockholm.
My knee-jerk attitude to these forced events is somewhere on the extreme end of the disgust-scale, but during the event it usually shifts to anger and then to desperation. Now that I have an iPhone things have gotten much easier.

This particular week, however, had at least one worthwhile presentation. Lena Göthe, the principal at a local school, talked about formative assessment, why and how to use it in secondary classrooms.