Moving to a more student-centered classroom is an evolutionary process. Don't try to overhaul a traditional lecturing style all at once; just try a few things at a time, and see how they work for you. Professors have different natural teaching styles, just as students have different natural learning styles. Use the ideas that seem most beneficial for you and your students. Unless some specific strategies are used to reduce the load, grading can be burdensome. Use peer review wherever possible. Another trick I use is to flip a coin at the beginning of class. If it comes up heads, I collect the assignment; if it's tails, I don't. (No, I don't own a two-tailed coin!)
Given the warnings of the last two paragraphs, it is natural to ask, “Why would I want to do such a thing?” In addition to the reasons mentioned in the introduction, I submit that the personal rewards are more than worth the effort. Class is simply more fun when the students are lively and engaged. Group work can help to build up a great deal of camaraderie in this type of class. Give-and-take between students is greatly increased as is their communication with me. Try it—you'll like it!
Ronald G. Douglas, ed., Toward a Lean and Lively Calculus: Report of the Conference/Workshop to Develop Curriculum and Teaching Materials for Calculus at the College Level, MAA Notes No. 6 (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1986), 8–10.
Lynn A. Steen, ed., Calculus for a New Century: A Pump, Not a Filter, MAA Notes No. 8 (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1987).
Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics. (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1991).
Moving Beyond Myths: Revitalizing Undergraduate Mathematics.
Ross L. Finney and George B. Thomas, Jr., Calculus, 2nd ed. (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, Inc., 1993).
Art Young and Toby Fulwiler, eds., Writing Across the Disciplines: Research into Practice. (Portsmouth, NH: Boyton/Cook Publishers, Inc., 1986).
George Polya, How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method, 2nd ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957).
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Teaching in the 21st Century: Adapting Writing Pedagogies to the College Curriculum.
Contributors: Alice Robertson - Editor, Barbara Smith - Editor.
Publisher: Falmer Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1999.
Page number: 47.
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