- In my freshman classes, the students are now asking each other questions instead of depending on me to verify their answers. Most of them are moving beyond “What was the answer? to “How did you get that answer?” They are even getting good at asking questions of peers who are stuck instead of just telling them what to do.
- I have a daily tutoring assignment in the library. The students who come in for tutoring this period are now working together on assignments and are helping each other. I am fortunate that during this period one of my favorite seniors is taking an independent study and is also in the library (I know we’re not supposed to have favorites, but…). One day this week a student walked in with a quick question, saw I was busy with other students, so instead of waiting he took his question to the senior. She took a moment from her AP Stats work to answer his question.
- On this same day, another student came in wanting to know how to do a linear regression on his calculator. It just so happened that my student aide began designing a web site with this very information the day before. So I pulled up the link, handed my laptop to the student, and he was able to teach himself. (the site is a work in progress – if you’d like to include your input, please do so here).
It was pointed out to me that it may not be a good first year goal to become obsolete. I’m not too sure. I want the students to be self-directed learners. I want them to use whatever resources are available. I want them to be able to judge the validity of their peers’ mathematical thinking. If this is what it means to be obsolete, I’m okay with it.