ERIC Number: EJ1113131
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Snapshots of Equitable Teaching in a Highly Diverse Classroom
Urbina-Lilback, Ruth N.
Mathematics Teacher, v110 n2 p126-132 Sep 2016
The statistics about community college developmental math level and completion rates can seem disheartening, especially for those who work with these students day-to-day and know their life stories. When it comes to teaching her students, the author chooses not to focus on the statistics. Instead, she pays attention to their varied career goals and the life experiences that characterize who they are. This diversity means a world of unexplored possibilities for her, their math teacher who wants to provide them with a strong quantitative background, regardless of their eventual college choice. The real hurdles, however, are how to provide them with a solid mathematics foundation while helping them learn how to conquer their unique challenges and the many years of imprinted preconceptions about what it means for them to learn math. This article looks at the author's efforts to develop and implement successful instructional experiences within an elementary algebra classroom at a community college, a common entry-point course with content similar to what is taught in high school algebra 1. While contexts and developmental stages between school levels may differ, increasing mathematical access and developing lifelong mathematics learners is a central objective for all mathematics teachers. The following two basic principles presented in this article, based on instructional experiences and a review of relevant literature, may be used to increase mathematical access effectively: (1) Design flexible lessons that are open to student input. Balance time to establish relationships with and among students; and (2) Build on misconceptions and errors, which can be a major source of learning. The author provides three "snapshots" from her teaching journal which demonstrate the application of these principles.
Descriptors: Student Diversity, Community Colleges, Two Year College Students, Two Year Colleges, Mathematics, Mathematics Teachers, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics Education, College Mathematics, Algebra, Teaching Methods, Educational Principles, Misconceptions, Remedial Mathematics, Developmental Studies Programs
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-9840; Fax: 703-476-2570; e-mail: NCTM@nctm.org; Web site: http://www.nctm.org/publications/mathematics-teacher/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A