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TAG: teaching methods

SQWIGLES: a guide for action and reflection in one-on-one teaching

It’s university holidays again (aka “non-lecture time”), which means I’m back on the blog trying to process everything that’s happened this term. Mostly this has been me spending time with students in the Drop-In Centre, since I made a commitment to do more of what I love, which is spending time with students in the […]

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Flipping absolute values

Every semester I talk to students about what the absolute value does to the graph of a function. Basically, the graph of y = |f(x)| is the same as the graph of y = f(x), but with all the bits below the x-axis flipped to be above the x-axis. I’ve always simply drawn some graphs […]

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But I don’t like cricket

When I was in primary school, one of my teachers once tried to teach us averages using cricket, and it is one of my strongest memories of being thoroughly confused in maths class.
I’m pretty sure my teacher thought that using cricket to teach averages was a great idea, but (for me at least) it was […]

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A function is not a graph

When students learn about functions at school, we spend a lot of time forging the connection between functions and graphs. We plot individual points, and we find x-intercepts and y-intercepts. We use graphing software to investigate what the coefficients do to the graph, and discuss shifting along the x-axis and y-axis. We make reference to […]

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There is no such thing as “just a quick question”

We often get students in the MLC saying that they have “just a quick question”: “Finally you’re up to me – it seems like a long time to wait when it’s just a quick question…”; “I know it’s 4:05 and the Centre closed five minutes ago, but it’s just a quick question…”; “I’m sorry to […]

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Assignments don’t teach people

It is a well-known truth that assessment drives learning. Students will often not learn a particular topic or concept unless it is assessed by an assignment or exam. Fair enough — often students are not choosing to do a particular course for the sheer love of it, are they?
However, many lecturers take this truth just […]

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Why don’t people bring me raw data?

We often get research students visiting us to get help with analysing their data, even though it is not actually our job to help them and we are not formally qualified to help either. But I still sit with them and listen to their woes and give what advice I can, because I know how […]

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Ancient boxplots

When we learn things, we tend to get the impression that the things we learn have been passed down to us from the ancients. We think that the ways of thinking and doing we are presented with are the only way to think and do, and they were decreed by some all-knowing prophet in prehistorical […]

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Quadric Cameo

As I said recently, quadrics hold a special place in my heart and I get excited every time the topic comes around in Maths 1B. Quadrics have so many cool things you can say about them, and are such a great opportunity to talk about the deep connection between algebra and geometry. I personally could […]

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You will never see this problem again

“Now you understand that you’ll never see this problem again, don’t you?” I said, after a particularly productive problem-solving session at the MLC whiteboard with a group of students.
And then the world ended.
At least, I would have gotten the same reaction from the students if it had. They were all staring at me with wild […]

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