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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Habits of highly effective teachers?

Key Curriculum Press publishes our new Algebra II textbook as well as two software products that have had a significant impact on many high-school math teachers, Geometer’s Sketchpad and Fathom. Their recent catalog includes a moderately long article entitled “The seven habits of highly effective math teachers.” Now what do you expect these teachers to be doing? Since the article was in a Key Curriculum Press catalog, I had figured that they "use Geometer’s Sketchpad" and "incorporate lessons from Discovering Algebra” — but I was surprised to see that the seven habits turned out to be much subtler than mere product placement. In fact, it’s not a bad list, even though a little bit of blatant advertising certainly does find its way in. The list, of course, consists of seven sections:
  1. Use hands-on activities and real data. [In this section, Discovering Algebra is mentioned briefly, but Fathom isn’t, even though it’s chock-full of real data.]

  2. Try cooperative learning groups.

  3. Incorporate technology. [Aha! Sketchpad is mentioned twice in this section.]

  4. Create a curriculum that works for your students.

  5. Be a little silly. [a surprise]

  6. Connect math to other subjects.

  7. Keep learning.

Each section includes relevant quotations and observations from real teachers. All in all, the catalog shows refreshing self-restraint.

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