Mathematics Where Students Learn by Doing
From the Winter 2011-12 Caller
By Jim Wysocki
In a progressive school, the methods by which courses are taught will often differ greatly from what we teachers experienced as students. One such method is problem-based learning in mathematics, a popular example being the Harkness Method, which originated at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Catlin Gabel’s goal of producing young adults who are independent learners and resilient students can be seen in many aspects of this problem-based learning method. Asking questions, both by student and teacher, is a fundamental component of this method. In that vein, there are several questions to consider when introducing it. What is problem-based learning? How is it uniquely used at Catlin Gabel? How is it similar or dissimilar to the way other schools are approaching it? How can it help students become more successful mathematics students?
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