Social Justice Event:
On Tuesday April 26th, I got an e-mail from My Calculus 3 professor saying that if I went to a math related lecture I would get 2 points added to my average. I just wanted the extra points so I decided to go. Once I was there I saw familiar faces, both professors and classmates. It was a relief that I was not alone. I was expecting this lecture to be extremely boring but I was able to take a lot out of it.
Dr. Anne Collins, from Lesley University, came to speak about teaching and the different ways to get a point across. She made several important points that I will take with me when I get into teaching. Dr. Collins believes in the reward system, but it is also a way to learn several things in mathematics. Each student would get a check register and if the students completed their homework assignments then they would add 1 point to the register, but if they did not, then they would have 1 point taken away. At the end of each week the students would have to 'reconcile their checkbook'. They are learning about balancing checkbooks, and positives and negatives. It also teaches responsibility. I believe that this type of reward system is productive, and I would consider using it in my classroom. Because it is a reward system, Alfie Kohn would highly disagree with this. Although there is a reward system, Dr. Collins believed that groupwork is a very important part of learning, which Alfie Kohn would be happy to see.
If Patrick Finn was sitting in on this lecture he would see that Dr. Collins taught students to ask questions. This relates to the "affluent professional schools". Finn specifically states in his article, "What mattered was that they discussed their ideas." Dr. Collins would write every possibility to an answer on the board and until it was proven wrong, it would remain there. Students then had the ability to work hard to figure out if the claim was right or wrong. (In math there are always wrong answers. Sometimes, problems have to be done a million times before we can come to the correct conclusion.)
Finally, even though Dr. Collins didn't talk about tracking in schools, she talked about where she should start teaching, and what material to go over. She would listen to what the students had to say and then she would base her lesson plans off of that. She would work to make sure that each student was caught up with the previous material and then move forward. Dr. Collins had a great outlook on teaching. She never once said "I taught it, they just didn't learn it." Instead, Dr. Collins would say "I taught it and the students understood it. I know they did."