The Mathematics Enthusiast






The students in this study were enrolled in a remedial mathematics course at a small 4-year university and were taught according to the reform pedagogical principles advocated by NCTM, AMATYC, and MAA. Since most of the students had not been previously exposed to these teaching methods, this study obtained students’ reactions (n = 22) to the course through an anonymous, free-response (not multiple choice) survey at the end of the course. Surveys from students in two equivalent “traditional” lecture courses (n = 44) were also analyzed and served as a baseline by which to gauge students’ responses from the reform group. The surveys asked for general likes and dislikes regarding the pedagogical practices that were employed in their respective courses. The findings from the surveys were that students in the reform course generally liked its key features (group work, student presentations, and graphing calculators), but roughly half of the class wished that the instructor spent more time doing many more example problems on the board as opposed to giving the class time to explore the mathematical principles underlying the example problems. Teachers who wish to use reform pedagogical practices need to be aware of student expectations as they plan their lessons.

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