If I am able to awaken an interest within my students, then I know I have met that goal. For example, if a student was intrigued by a topic and went on to research it on their own to find out more because they found it interesting, then I know I was able to give them the spark they needed to take that leap. I want to be able to ignite interest within students so that they enjoy coming to class, enjoy learning math, and want to explore on their own. Teaching math in a way that introduces students to a different way of learning, perhaps through projects geared toward real world applications and connections should allow for a renewal of interest.

In all, taking the idea of teaching for the purpose of understanding the world could lead to various avenues for students to explore on their own and see purpose and usefulness within a subject that many do not believe has much usefulness in the real world, especially when topics seem to be so disconnected.(We see this attitude with algebra. Many don’t think it is useful.) Seeing the “aha!” moment written all over a student’s face when everything clicks is another indicator that they seem to understand something.

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]]>If this is your goal:

“For the pure enjoyment of it. For the culture that surrounds it. For understanding. The same thing goes for math. We should teach it because it offers another dimension to understanding the world around us. It doesn’t exist to torture unsuspecting students. We should teach it for the beauty of it. That may not be enough reason for some, but it is for me.”

How does this inform your teaching of the subject? How will you know if you’ve met your goal?

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