cvonrenesse's blog

Blog Posts by Dr. Christine von Renesse


In this blog post Professor von Renesse and her students describe their teaching lab class. If we believe that learning happens best in an inquiry-based way then this applies not only to learning mathematics, but also to learning how to teach mathematics. The idea of this lab class is to create a learning environment in which college students can experiment with teaching in a high school setting and learn for themselves what works best and why.

In this blog Drs Phil DeOrsey and Christine von Renesse describe an activity that is especially helpful in getting student buy-in. We let the students explore Islamic Geometry -- they create designs using compass and straight edge, as well as using Geogebra . For their final "achievement" we explain two different ways of exhibiting student artwork.

In this blog, Phil DeOrsey and Christine von Renesse describe ideas behind student resistance and student buy-in. A great resource is Tolman’s book “Why Students resist learning: A practical model for understanding and helping students”. He uses the Integrated Model of Student Resistance to explain how metacognition, cognitive development, negative classroom experiences, and environmental forces (work, family, culture/racism, disabilities) influence student resistance. It is tempting to think that student behavior only results from our facilitation during class but that is rarely the case.

There’s a famous line that many people use when they describe teaching. “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” I’ve always loved that quotation. I’ve tried to base my teaching style on it, like most teacher’s I’ve met or worked with have as well. But it wasn’t until recently that I actually knew what that meant. Or how powerful it can be.

Think of your class. What do you see? Do you see lethargic faces, students with their heads down, and only your top 10% answering your questions? Or do you see all students engaged; regardless of level? Do you see students talking about math in a productive argument? I can tell you that in just a few months, I have transformed my classroom from the first classroom example to the second.