One of the job alternatives for a fresh mathematics graduate is teaching in university. He was prepared in his undergraduate degree to be able to create new mathematics or work as part of a scientific group in industry. Where he learns and produces new research to solve problems in industry. The question now is did his undergraduate degree prepare him for a career in teaching. Indeed if the mathematics graduate was fortunate enough to get a place teaching in university as an assistant he will have other work besides teaching. He will have some research work as well which he was fully trained for in his undergraduate degree. Now one can return back to the very same question, did his undergraduate degree prepare him for a career in teaching. The answer to this question is no. The graduate will become a teacher and he has no knowledge of what is teaching all about.
University students pay a lot of money for education. They need a real professional teacher to teach them. This puts lots of pressure on the mathematics graduate who just got a teaching job. The way new teachers handle this varies greatly from person to person. Lots of students drop out of college and university and change their careers from mathematics because the mathematics teacher was not yet ready for the job. What even makes things worse is the bad coordination between the teacher and the department. Some departments hand the teacher the syllabus on the very first day of classes and ask him to go to the class and teach. If the teacher’s mathematics base is strong it will help him a bit but this is not enough. The teacher is still lacking in the fundamentals of teaching.
For this reason I suggest that newly recruited university teachers who have no university teaching experience should take a three months course that prepares them for the job. The newly recruited teacher should be taught the fundamental issues like how to make his voice clear in class, how to stand in front of the board, how to face the class, and how to use tools like the overhead projector. The teacher should learn some psychology related to students and teaching. Finally the teacher should learn how to develop his interpersonal and communicational skills.
Many experts argue that the teacher needs two things to be successful, experience and good judgment. If we apply this to the new teacher we will find that he has does not have of that. He certainly has no experience and he will never have good judgment with out some experience.
To solve the problem of experience the course should include the experiences of teaching experts and their tips about teaching. The course material should explain how these experienced teachers solved issues regarding education. When the student learned mathematics at university he took the experiences of centuries of research in mathematics and now he can start from where they finished. The same thing with education experience, the new teacher can take the experience of other experts in the field and start from where they finished.
The second point is that the teacher can develop good judgment by learning some basic psychology about students and education. He should learn what puts the students off and what encourages them. This way the teacher will learn the proper way of handling different situations and this is the prime reason why the teacher needs the capability of could judgment.
Finally the teacher should learn how to make his class practice oriented. He should learn how to make the students know how to reflect the mathematics they learned in solving real life problems. To do this the teacher must have an idea of many of the software calculators and mathematics tools available. There are many new software calculators with strong underlying mathematics engines and can be used to solve complex real life problems in mathematics. The teacher should be exposed to these tools in order to be able to create an opinion on how to use them in an innovative way to serve in the education of mathematics.
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Mathematics and sex are deeply intertwined. From using mathematics to reveal patterns in our sex lives, to using sex to prime our brain for certain types of problems, to understanding them both in terms of the evolutionary roots of our brain, Dr Clio Cresswell shares her insight into it all.
Dr Clio Cresswell is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at The University of Sydney researching the evolution of mathematical thought and the role of mathematics in society. Born in England, she spent part of her childhood on a Greek island, and was then schooled in the south of France where she studied Visual Art. At eighteen she simultaneously discovered the joys of Australia and mathematics, following on to win the University Medal and complete a PhD in mathematics at The University of New South Wales. Communicating mathematics is her field and passion. Clio has appeared on panel shows commenting, debating and interviewing; authored book reviews and opinion pieces; joined breakfast radio teams and current affair programs; always there highlighting the mathematical element to our lives. She is author of Mathematics and Sex.
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Mathematics and sex | Clio Cresswell | TEDxSydney