Ultimately the things I learn and do are to improve my teaching and student learning to help students to be successful. Active learning is a big piece of student success and over the years I've transitioned from faculty centered traditional lectures to student-centered engaged hands-on learning with tech enhanced courses, flipped classrooms and online learning. Instead of just watching me "do" math (traditional lecture), the students are talking about it and helping each other or doing it with me.
Over the years I've gotten many thank you notes from successful students. Students are the reason I do what I do. I love to see them successfully learning math. Though I have many success stories , I've chosen to share just three, the first from a student early in my career, one from mid-way through and one just recently.
Helen was an older student, returning to school after several years raising a family. She was very nervous about college algebra She worked very hard and did well. She wrote a poem and then a couple of years later sent me a letter. Helen's poem. Helen's letter.
Nicole had experienced many medical issues and just recovered from cancer surgery and treatment. She was in my Intermediate Algebra class. She came to my office and told me she'd failed intermediate algebra twice in the past and really wanted to make it this time. I told her I would give her the grade she earned so if she was determined to pass, she needed to put in the time to learn the material, but I would help her learn in any way I could. She came to my office hours regularly to get extra help and worked hard. She did well and sent me this picture and a thank you.
Loralin was a non-traditional student returning after many years away from school. She was in my intermediate algebra tech enhanced class and was not comfortable with math or computers. I helped her learn the basics of the computer and because of the format of the course, had the opportunity to give her a lot of one-on-one. She just needed to gain confidence in her abilities. She was very worried about testing and I had her come to my office to review. Again, she was very capable and knew the material, just needed to have confidence that she could do math. She did very well, A couple of weeks ago I was walking down the hall at Jordan and we ran into each other. She was very excited to see me and said she was writing an English paper about overcoming something difficult and was telling her math story. She told me after she'd completed my class that she took and passed college algebra. She asked if she could come to my office and talk to me and we had a great visit.
Pictures and comments from recent active learning classes.
"I like the videos at home a lot. Last semester I never took notes because the teacher explained things too fast anyways. So I like working in groups and doing the in-class activities as a whole class as well. It keeps me paying attention."
"I was not aware before signing up for this class that it would be a flipped classroom experience, but fI wish ALL of my classes took this approach to learning. I feel more in touch with what I am learning on a day to day basis and feel more exposed to the material than I would have been in a traditional class room setting. I feel confident about the material I am being taught and feel ready for when exams come around. I also walk away feeling special and privileged to have a teacher that presents the material in such a professional way. It makes a difference on my retention of information while also keeping my interest focused. If someone were to ask me what the best lormat was, I would start with this classroom's approach as a model. "
"I have never learned math in this way but I find it quite helpful actually, It gives me an idea of what we will be doing in class which gives me time to think of any questions and confusions to be highlighted or focused on in class."