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ERIC Number: EJ1083810
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0025-5769
Customizing a Math Course with Your Students
Russo, Mark F.
Mathematics Teacher, v109 n5 p351-354 Dec 2015
During the author's career, he has taught many students who loved and excelled at mathematics, as well as students who underachieved and displayed a strong aversion for the subject. Year after year he tried new approaches to reach this latter group, but year after year the results were mostly the same. Helping students understand the content was part of the challenge, but the bigger issue was my inability to justify why they had to learn the mathematics in the first place. Teaching lower-performing high school seniors polynomial long division and Descartes' rule of signs is difficult, but justifying why they need to learn these concepts at all is far more difficult. The goal was to prepare students for college mathematics, but the result was very little learning and often more dislike for mathematics. The author began to wonder whether he should stop preparing students for a course they might never take and instead build a course around their interests, passions, and future goals. He decided to try this approach with a senior elective, but building a course around students' interests would require students to be actively involved in the planning. To that end, the author invited his students to co-construct this course along with him, with the hope that this process would make the course more relevant and meaningful to them.
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: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A