Edutopia - Comments for "Should math teachers have math degrees? "
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492
Comments for "Should math teachers have math degrees? "enPassion
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-122076
<p>I agree with one of the earlier posters - I think the key is passion. I majored in math because I love math. Hopefully my students can see that. If you didn't major in math, you might be competent to teach certain math courses, but there is a reason you didn't major in math - because you loved something else more. But I do wonder how much math needs to be retaught and relearned when students are taught in elementary and middle school by teachers who are not as strong as they think they are in math.</p>
<p>Jerry Tuttle<br />
onlinecollegemathteacher.blogspot.com</p>
Tue, 05 Mar 2013 14:22:03 +0000Jerry - 311016comment 122076 at http://www.edutopia.orgMy own children had most of
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-121691
<p>My own children had most of their education in Denmark. They had a separate math teacher from very early grades, maybe even first grade. And interestingly enough, so did I, from 4th grade on, back in the 50's in NJ. As a high school math teacher, I fear that some of the students who have reached Algebra without having a dedicated math teach in elementary school got lost somewhere, maybe because the teacher wasn't passionate about the subject or even liked it.</p>
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:38:41 +0000Bonnie Yelverton - 4270comment 121691 at http://www.edutopia.orgA non-math major can be very
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-121686
<p>A non-math major can be very passionate about math, when s/he has decided to take a second career about something that interests her. I have studied numerous books on math, math history, math pedagogy, etc. because it interests me, not just to pass the test. I sometimes think that I know more about actually teaching math than some teachers I've met (maybe even with a degree) who have been teaching too long and using the same methods year after year with the same results - losing the ones at the bottom, boring the ones at the top.<br />
I don't think it is possible to generalize who will be a good math teacher according to whether they happened to major in math - particularly second-careerists. I have seen second careerists who majored in math but have only used, say, statistics, in their work have a hard time passing the tests, because they thought they knew it all, but they were out of practice - and there are new aspects of math now being taught in HS which weren't not all that long ago, like matrix theory and vectors (which used to be taught by the physics teacher.)</p>
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:30:25 +0000Bonnie Yelverton - 4270comment 121686 at http://www.edutopia.orgI agree - mostly because that
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-121681
<p>I agree - mostly because that is what I have done. The math and science I had was years ago, and although I've used some of it in other careers, I certainly haven't used all of it. So I studied math intensely for several months (barely doing anything else) and passed the state math teacher exams easily. I feel that by learning the material recently and knowing what helped me learn it has been a good way to know how to teach it. But I have also been actively participating in the NCTM, reading everything I can find about teaching math and science, which I believe means 1) being passionate about math and 2) helping students figure it out for themselves, not by my telling them all my great wisdom about the subject.</p>
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 01:22:48 +0000Bonnie Yelverton - 4270comment 121681 at http://www.edutopia.orgIn my experience, teachers
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-121606
<p>In my experience, teachers with Math degrees do not always make the best Math teachers. Math teachers need to be able to help students that do not understand concepts. Teachers that have never struggled with math concepts may not know how to explain concepts to students that are struggling.</p>
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 22:42:38 +0000PHorton - 324351comment 121606 at http://www.edutopia.orgI have a math degree. So, I
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-121336
<p>I have a math degree. So, I can "do" math very well. I also have degrees in education. Teaching and doing math are two very different things. College level and grade school math are also very different things. NOTHING about having mastered abstract algebra makes me better at explaining fractions to students. I don't agree that creativity makes you a better teacher. I think it makes you a more interesting teacher and gets students motivated more easily. I do believe that a profound understanding of fundamental mathematics and the ability to elaborate on the WHY and not just the HOW makes a teacher good.</p>
Sat, 23 Feb 2013 23:12:37 +0000Julie Santaniello - 59535comment 121336 at http://www.edutopia.orgThis is an interesting issue!
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-120276
<p>This is an interesting issue! </p>
<p>I would like to add that if your state requires for licensing the Praxis Middle School or High School Math exam given by ETS, or one of the similar individual state exams given by Pearson, the math demands of those exams are not too severe. A strong high school math student can pass those exams. </p>
<p>As far as majoring in math, I like to think someone has chosen this major because of their passion for the subject, and I question if someone from another major truly has the same passion. I do math for fun - do you? </p>
<p>Finally, I would like to suggest in the my teaching, someone always asks a question beyond the scope of the course and whose answer can not be found in the textbook for the course - how will the non-math major teacher respond? </p>
<p>Jerry<br />
onlinecollegemathteacher.blogspot.com</p>
Fri, 15 Feb 2013 16:03:51 +0000Jerry - 311016comment 120276 at http://www.edutopia.orgIn my opinion, I disagree
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-111136
<p>In my opinion, I disagree that it is mandatory for teachers whom want to teach math to get a math degree. First of all, some teachers who are majoring in Physics, Computer Sciences, Chemstry also have a deep mathematical background. It is a easy for those teachers to teach some basic curriculums. Secondly, I should say that it highly depends on what kind of math courses are teached. If the class is like easier math class, it is also required teachers who is majoring in Math.</p>
Sun, 14 Oct 2012 23:41:10 +0000shan - 197568comment 111136 at http://www.edutopia.org
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-81584
<p>Now - there's a question. Math or MEd. Neither value the experience of teachers in the field. I am math - but definitely you do not want to teach math as most mathematicians teach mathematics. It is too "mathy" - too removed from real life for the kiddies. It took me years to unlearn when teaching. On the other hand MEd does not teach solving math - it teaches "understanding, wishy, washy" math and it is questionable whether you will actually see any mathematics being solved in any useful or even correct way. In the end, the kiddies actually have to pass exams that require solving math so even if you think MEd is appropriate (and clearly I don't), it won't help you in the classroom. I understand that there is a trend towards accepting degrees outside of these 2 mainstream approaches - something like "Teach for America" which values the experience of good teachers. Experienced teachers know the "good questions", they've seen it all, the new math, the old math, the old-new math, they know what works and how to recognize blank faces. So if I had to do it again - that's what I would look for - a degree program that uses experienced teachers as its backbone.</p>
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 21:59:21 +0000Linda FahlbergStojanovska - 15176comment 81584 at http://www.edutopia.orgI have a BA in sociology and
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-81582
<p>I have a BA in sociology and communications, an MEd in Counseling and I teach math for adult ed. I would like to pursue another degree so that I will be ablt to comfortablty teach in a pubic school at smoe point. What is the next best degree for me to pursue? MAT in teaching Math? MST in teaching Math? Another MEd, but for Math Teaching? I have already begun taking classes so that I can be prepared for entrance into a program. Please give me advice about which degree to pursue. i know there are other routes to becoming a teacher but I would like to have both the knowledge and the paper to back me up.</p>
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 21:22:47 +0000Wannabe Math Teacher - 17725comment 81582 at http://www.edutopia.orgWannabe math teacher
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-81581
<p>I have a BA in sociology and communications, an MEd in Counseling and I teach math for adult ed. I would like to pursue another degree so that I will be ablt to comfortablty teach in a pubic school at smoe point. What is the next best degree for me to pursue? MAT in teaching Math? MST in teaching Math? Another MEd, but for Math Teaching? I have already begun taking classes so that I can be prepared for entrance into a program. Please give me advice about which degree to pursue. i know there are other routes to becoming a teacher but I would like to have both the knowledge and the paper to back me up.</p>
Mon, 28 Jun 2010 21:22:15 +0000Wannabe Math Teacher - 17725comment 81581 at http://www.edutopia.org
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-81005
<p>I can't begin to tell you of how many Math degreed professionals I have met who have little knoledge of math. I worked in engineering for over 20 years, used, and loved math. (And still do!) I read math books as a hobby, and teach math history as a side in my classes. I passed the state math certification test with ease the first time and have found out that many math degreed teacher hopfuls have not faired as well. I believe that if a math teacher truely has a love for the subject they will learn as much as they can about the subject to be able to present their class in an interesting and comprehensive manner for all their students. Sure anyone can make calculus interesting but, try make algebra and fractions interesting to highschool freshmen! That's actually a much more tough job!</p>
Mon, 21 Jun 2010 16:59:37 +0000Robert Doyle - 17065comment 81005 at http://www.edutopia.orgBeing a Math Teacher
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-80739
<p>I teach math in middle school. I was trained as a social studies teacher and I have a K through 8 certification as well. I have been teaching sixth grade math for a long time. I believe that many math learners struggle and, if a teacher can understand that struggle and anticipate misunderstandings, then that teacher can intercede with the students and be a cheerleader and guide to success.</p>
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 21:00:37 +0000marker1 - 16651comment 80739 at http://www.edutopia.orgBeing a Math Teacher
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-80738
<p>I teach math in middle school. I was trained as a social studies teacher and I have a K through 8 certification as well. I have been teaching sixth grade math for a long time. I believe that many math learners struggle and, if a teacher can understand that struggle and anticipate misunderstandings, then that teacher can intercede with the students and be a cheerleader and guide to success.</p>
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 20:53:04 +0000marker1 - 16651comment 80738 at http://www.edutopia.orgThey can't find enough math
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79942
<p>They can't find enough math teachers now. How are they going to find them if they have to have a degree in math? I have taught math for 38 years and know the subject well, but I don't have a math degree. I had to take several math classes to get certified in it and feel very qualified to teach it.</p>
Mon, 31 May 2010 22:50:48 +0000scott trevathan - 15609comment 79942 at http://www.edutopia.orgGlad to have my degree in Math
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79874
<p>I have been teaching math at the secondary (grades 7 - 12) level for five years and I am glad to have a B.A. in Math. I was always good at math and actually planned to get a degree in Physics...when that didn't pan out I went for the next best thing: Math. The thing is, I always "did" math because I could - not because I had a passion for it. It wasn't until I took higher level courses in my undergrad as well as in my grad work (although some might see as irrelevant to MS or HS curriculum) where I truly began to appreciate the beauty of mathematics and grew a passion for it. Now I take that appreciation and impress it upon my students - it better prepares a teacher for those "When will we ever need this" or "Where is this going?" questions we all get from students- I must say though I hear it less and less.... The institution where I received my math degree from is also highly accredited for their school of ed. at the same time, so I think a degree in your content area paired with a strong background in pedagogy makes for the best teachers</p>
Fri, 28 May 2010 21:11:06 +0000Nina Caraveo - 15491comment 79874 at http://www.edutopia.orgAfter 33 years, many of them
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79656
<p>After 33 years, many of them in a math or integrated math-science classroom at the grade 3-7 level, I feel that, while a degree in math has not been essential to teach math concepts and skills effectively at this level, additional training has absolutely been necessary. Kudos to mentors such as Marilyn Burns and to well-supported math programs such as Connected Math and Chicago Math. Understanding the process skills outlined by NCTM and others is a critical piece of the formula for student success that goes far beyond rote learning of algorithms. I find it hard to believe that, after 33 years in the profession, so many students (and many elementary level teachers) are still so math-phobic. This is a tragedy, and it has a life-long impact for many students who later avoid professions that these students see as using "a lot of math." My own children, now college-age, were very turned off by many of their middle and high school math teachers who had degrees but taught the subject in a tedious way that left my kids uninspired and unmotivated, with little sense of relevance for the skills they were learning to "pass the class." In only one high school math class was my son really motivated, and the teacher took the risk to seat his students at round tables to encourage discussion and relevant project work. After that class, my son stated that he NEVER wanted to sit in rows in a math class again. Sadly, that teacher was a "rare gem" at the school, and my son regretfully sat in rows for all subsequent math courses, motivation declining over time. Both of my children have avoided math courses in their higher education studies, though both use applied math successfully in many facets of their lives. While I believe a math degree is necessary to teach math at the high school level, the high school math teacher needs a full range of effective teaching practices to successfully engage and inspire his or her students to pursue math beyond the current course of study.</p>
Thu, 27 May 2010 10:38:44 +0000Judith LeFevre - 15203comment 79656 at http://www.edutopia.orgthat is with any content
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79789
<p>that is with any content area. If you don't have the passion you want last a month. If you don' have good classroom management skills, you want be successful either. Being a teacher in general is much more than the content you teach, it takes heart and a lot of hard dedicated work just like any other profession</p>
Thu, 27 May 2010 04:33:20 +0000CHRISTY40 - 15388comment 79789 at http://www.edutopia.org
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79788
<p>If you are aware of the education curriculum,maybe not since you made that comment in your post. We are required to take and pass the math content area of the praxis exam. so what is your issue?</p>
Thu, 27 May 2010 04:29:26 +0000CHRISTY40 - 15388comment 79788 at http://www.edutopia.orgWhy study math?
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79661
<p>==In response to: Caryn Pernu - Posted on 4/15/2010 1:56pm<br />
There was a fascinating article in the NY Times today on U.S. math teacher preparation ...==<br />
Very interesting article! I looked at the problem posed. This is a great question. It is stated simply and clearly. It requires breakdown and logical thinking skills and and can be solved in several different ways. Even though it is "purely" geometric, solving it shows life skills. This is why we study math in school - to learn how to think.<br />
Compare this with the problem posed in by the new "Common Core Standards" in the US also illustrated in an article in the NYT: <a href="http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/national-academic-standards-the-first-test/?scp=2&sq=common%20core%20math%20standards&st=cse" title="http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/national-academic-standards-the-first-test/?scp=2&sq=common%20core%20math%20standards&st=cse" rel="nofollow">http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/national-academic-stan...</a>. What would your answer be?<br />
This is the kind of difficult (but non-rigorous) question that we in the US consider important in mathematics? Don't get me wrong - understanding all of the difference between a problem starting with "Simplify the expression..." and one with "Solve the equation..." is vital. But this question does not clarify THAT issue at all. It is just playing words and calling it mathematics.</p>
Sat, 22 May 2010 16:58:25 +0000Linda FahlbergStojanovska - 15176comment 79661 at http://www.edutopia.orgForming Communities of Experience Successful Teachers
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-79652
<p>Again - we hit on the teachers.<br />
I think better questions would be: Should persons training teachers and who write curricula and standards be required to (a) have actual field experience teaching that grade level? (b) have shown positive results in their actual field experience? (c) be tested in the areas in which they train others to see if they are competent, know the content area and have great discipline?<br />
I have read article after "academic-scholarly" article by "educational professionals" (those that train our non-math major teachers, write curricula and standards) and am continually appalled by the fact that none of these are actual requirements.<br />
I have read article after "academic-professional" article by "mathematicians" (those that train our math major teachers, complain about curricula and standards) and again am continually appalled by the fact that none of these are actual requirements.<br />
Neither of these groups TALK SERIOUSLY to experienced, successful teachers in the field.<br />
Why can't we form a community of experienced, successful teachers that can work together to share best-practices.<br />
Every year, the poor teacher in the field must listen, obey and adapt (a) a "new and correct" way to teach mathematics , (b) a "new, correct" way to talk mathematics, (c) a "new and correct" set of standards, (d) a "new and correct" set of test questions.<br />
Who cares if they are non-math majors or math majors? They are peons in the game of academics. I am simply amazed that they stay in the profession at all.<br />
(I hold a doctorate in theoretical mathematics, teach university engineering mathematics - an EXTREMELY easy job compared to teaching K-12 math!)</p>
Sat, 22 May 2010 08:47:35 +0000Linda FahlbergStojanovska - 15176comment 79652 at http://www.edutopia.org
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-78090
<p>There was a fascinating article in the NY Times today on U.S. math teacher preparation:</p>
<p><cite>America’s future math teachers, on average, earned a C on a new test comparing their skills with their counterparts in 15 other countries, significantly outscoring college students in the Philippines and Chile but placing far below those in educationally advanced nations like Singapore and Taiwan.</p>
<p>The researchers who led the math study in this country, to be released in Washington on Thursday, judged the results acceptable if not encouraging for America’s future elementary teachers. But they called them disturbing for American students heading to careers in middle schools, who were outscored by students in Germany, Poland, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan. </cite></p>
<p>The full report, a press release, and powerpoint are available online at Michigan State University..</p>
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 20:56:43 +0000Caryn Pernu - 9546comment 78090 at http://www.edutopia.orgIn my experiences I've had a
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-78088
<p>In my experiences I've had a number of colleagues who came to teaching from engineering or science. If the math background is strong and the desire to work with students is stronger, they make great teachers! However, I do worry about underqualified or motivated people seeking teaching positions now because education is considered "recession proof".</p>
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 20:33:35 +0000Kimberly ShinnSimpson - 12534comment 78088 at http://www.edutopia.orgI'm coming late to this
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-77351
<p>I'm coming late to this interesting discussion. I don't think elementary school teachers necessarily need a math degree, but I think they need to have a demonstrated understanding of mathematics (as opposed to merely arithmetic). I think elementary school math focuses too much on the subject matter of arithmetic and not enough on broader math concepts and helping students see the world as a mathematician might. It's that kind of thinking that opens the world up to new possibilities for kids.</p>
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:51:15 +0000Caryn Pernu - 9546comment 77351 at http://www.edutopia.orgTeaching in general
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/science-technology-engineering-mathematics-education/9492#comment-76002
<p>It is interesting that in the countries that outperform the US, they have subject specialists starting in the lowest elementary grades, whereas we have generalists until somewhere in middle grades (5-8). My experience with my daughter's teachers is that many feel uncomfortable with a lot of what they teach, which makes it harder for other high school teachers (I teach science) to change misinformation learned at an early stage. The youngest students need a consistent face, but having others come in to co-teach other subjects is likely our best option for better instruction. This also allows for more personal attention and relationships, which are the key for better learning.</p>
Thu, 18 Mar 2010 01:07:27 +0000George Bischoff - 9789comment 76002 at http://www.edutopia.org