ERIC Number: ED264570
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Jun-1
Reference Count: 0
Writing and Learning College Mathematics.
Keith, Sandra; Keith, Philip
Noting the growing interest in how writing activities might complement current teaching techniques and improve learning in mathematics, this paper presents a progress report on the use of writing assignments in freshman precalculus courses at a Minnesota university. The paper first presents a rationale for this teaching technique and the original goals of the project, and then provides examples of students' inability to write an effective definition of a reference angle (although they were able to compute correctly a reference angle problem), indicating a lack of verbal strategies. The paper points out that one of the most useful techniques in the process of working with the students was showing the class writing efforts on slides. It then provides another example of poor verbal strategies, noting how writing can improve requisite understanding of mathematical concepts. The paper concludes with some observations drawn from one year's efforts at using writing assignments in mathematics classes: the assignments (1) improve class participation, (2) broaden opportunities for conceptual growth even for better students in the course, (3) stimulate meaningful discussions of mathematics as a language and of strategies for learning it, (4) emphasize the kinds of writing given less attention in orthodox content area writing programs, and (5) force one to consider curriculum concerns. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on English Education (Cedar Rapids, IA, May 30-June 1, 1985).