Choose Your Own Adventure (SoTL)

This week I learned about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).  SoTL is using effective teaching methods in the classroom but take it a step further to involve inquiry into teaching, engagement, feedback, and reflection on teaching and learning. The Scholarship of Teaching and learning also stresses the importance of sharing results so others can review, critique and build on the work.  In the past, teaching has been a closed door policy.  We often imagine teaching as individualistic and self-directed, a sequestered event to which students are the only witnesses, and in which the professor is the only teacher(Bender, 1999). We cannot grow and become better teachers if we continue on that pathway.

Next we were asked to take that information learned about SoTL and find research based resources for my professional contexts which would be mathematics.  I decided to look for resources pertaining to hands on mathematics and/or research on lessons using technology in mathematics.  I was fortunate to be able to chat with a MSU librarian via instant message.  Within a minute the librarian was responding to my question.  The librarian then asked if it was teaching related and for what grade levels would I prefer.  Shortly after answering the librarian had a great resource for me.

1.  Hands-on Mathematics + Multicultural Education = Student Success.  

This article discusses how math teaching was approached differently in one particular example. It showed how a class of multi-racial students was able to learn basic math concepts by instituting different hands on ways to apply math. Some of the ways they did this was by showing fractionally how basketball is divided by different skill levels among caucasian and african american players as well as female players. The students actually guessed as to how their own class would do with basic basketball skills and made “hand-made” wooden hoops to show the results. Another interesting concept was that at the beginning of the class, at the start of the semester, the teachers and students made a “deal” and shook hands on it. The teachers promised to make math apply to the “real world” and to make math fun if the student agreed to learn and give 100% effort. It was an interesting article to research.

2.  The second link he sent me was an article titled Hands-On Mathematics and Science Activities for Students in Grades K-8: A Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents.  Unfortunately, ERIC did not have a PDF available and the librarian mentioned that it is probably on microfiche.  He also said that it might be available at a later date in PDF format.

3. The Effects of Teaching Techniques and Teacher Attitudes on Math Anxiety in Secondary Level Students.  This Article described an experiment which revolved around a class of 48 students learning algebra I. Half of these students were taught in a “regular” style by a math teacher using her typical and standard method of teaching algebra I. The other half of students were in a environment where the idea of stress due to math was addressed. The teaching approach in this class was to try an eliminate any anxiety about learning and doing math. Additional teachers were used and a different approach to instruction was instituted. Despite one class focusing on the anxiety and “stress” level of students, the learning results were almost identical between the two classes. Even with focusing on “math anxiety”, it did not change the level of learning in the classroom when compared to a class that did not address this issue.

4. An Ap”peel”ing Activity.  This was an actual activity that was allowed to be peer reviewed.  To explore surface area and volume of a sphere students peel an orange and make inferences before and after peeling.  I might actually use something similar in my Geometry classroom.

5. Partnership Teaching: Success for All Children Using Math as a Vehicle.  This article stressed the importance of accepting others ideas and thoughts and working together in groups as a team.  It had provided some great ideas for activities that I could use in my sixth grade mathematics classroom.  Unfortunately some of the activities would need to be scaffolded toward a middle school learner as opposed to elementary.

I really liked the librarian feature.  The librarian was so helpful but did all the leg work for me.  I was almost hoping they would show me how to look up things and have it be more interactive.  It showed me how easy it is to find peer reviewed articles like was SoTL was referring to.  The librarian pointed out that most of the articles he was finding were before the year 2000, which I thought was interesting.

References:

Adeeb, P. and Bosnick, J. (1995). Hands-on Mathematics + Multicultural Education = Student Success. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/math.html

Adeeb, P. and Bosnick, J. (1998). Partnership Teaching: Success for All Children Using Math as a Vehicle. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ574661

Bender, E and Gray, D. (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching. Research & Creative Activity, XXII(1). http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v22n1/p03.html

Quality Education for Minorities Network. (2000). Hands-On Mathematics and Science Activities for Students in Grades K-8 [electronic resource] : A Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://catalog.lib.msu.edu/record=b6583593~S39a

Urich, J. A., & Sasse, E. A. (2011). An Ap”peel”ing Activity. Mathematics Teacher, 105(3), 189-193.

White, P. (1997). The Effects of Teaching Techniques and Teacher Attitudes on Math Anxiety in Secondary Level Students. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from  http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED411151
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