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ERIC Number: EJ1001823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Voting Changed My Teaching Approach
Saari, Donald G.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v19 n4 p248-253 Nov 2012
In this article, the author shares how his fourth-grade students' creative thinking concerning a long-standing research problem stimulated changes in his instructional strategies. He begins by providing an example which illustrates that the standard tool of democracy, the plurality vote, suffers serious deficiencies: "The winner can be the voters' inferior choice." When he has used the same example to introduce this subtle issue to professional economists, political scientists, and mathematicians, they have been puzzled--but not these fourth graders. This entire experience crafted his teaching approach, which is to find ways for students to assume ownership of ideas. To avoid being viewed as the authority, he often appears to be confused and seeking help. Students recognize that this is a game, but it emboldens them to advance creative ideas that then become "theirs." Transferring ownership of ideas may require that teachers temporarily ignore convention. Helping students assume ownership of concepts requires relating the concepts to their experiences. A key step is to tell stories that capture interest and attention--a story that separates concepts from supporting details. Training students to tell stories helps them separate concepts from supporting details and leads them to assume ownership.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania