Issues in secondary mathematics 🔎

Professor Hlas
hlascs (@) uwec.edu
Student drop-ins / Zoom appointments

Course Information

Section 901 meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 to 1:45pm.

The course will focus on reading research about mathematics education, then applying that research in useful ways. For example, we will often focus on creating research-based mathematical tasks or activities for future use.

Course learning outcomes include:

Course structure

Research background 📖


Grading

It is important to communicate clearly and indicate where ideas come from. On every assignment, the preservice teacher starts at zero then earns "math teaching points" (MTP) for demonstration of mathematical thinking related to teaching (commonly called "pedagogical content knowledge"). If any concerns arise regarding grading, contact the instructor in a timely manner.

Weekly writing assignments 7 × 10 MTP

There will be readings for each week's topic. Most of these weeks require a written assignment that utilizes the readings from the week.

Discussion leader 30 MTP

Once during the semester, each preservice teacher will choose a reading for the week and lead class discussion.

Manuscript collaboration 20 MTP

Preservice teachers will give feedback to the professor regarding everyone's contributions to the manuscript. The professor will take this feedback under advisement when computing scores for collaboration.

Problem solving observation 20 MTP

Preservice teachers will develop research-based mathematics tasks during class. Individually, preservice teachers will test one of these tasks with two target students, then present results to the class.

Tips for a successful semester

The course schedule is your friend. I continually update it to make sure it is always as current as possible. All class activities, handouts, and daily recommendations should be listed. If something is missing or unclear, please let me know so I can make improvements for the benefit of everyone in the class. Speaking of calendars, the one thing I wish I knew as a college student is to schedule study time for each class. This strategy ensures time is spent on each classes in productive ways.

Mathematics is a form of abstract thinking that is better learned through active participation. In one study (Deslauriers et al., 2019), students were either taught via lecture or through active learning. Students in the lecture class felt like they learned more, but they actually scored lower than the active learning group. Active learning means that class will often begin with a challenging problem. During class the students and the instructor will work together to solve the problem(s) and learn some mathematics along the way (Liljedahl, 2017; Brown et al., 2014; Ericsson, 2006).

One way to actively engage with mathematics is to try homework or Webwork before class discussion on the topic. This strategy helps inform your learning during class time because you will have an idea of what you know and what you still need to learn (Pan & Sana, 2021; Brown et al., 2014).

When solving problems do not expect perfection. Problems are designed to be challenging to encourage learning. Little, if anything, is learned from "easy" tasks. Speaking of learning, we will try to avoid tricks/shortcuts as these often distract us from the mathematics and create extra work to unlearn bad habits.

After each class, educational research recommends we reflect on what was learned. One way to review is to rewrite class notes. For a specific note-taking suggestion, please see the Feyneman's Notebook Method that encourages rewriting a day's lesson with a one-page restriction. Hand-written notes also lead to more brain activity than other methods (Umejima et al., 2021; Askvik et al., 2020; ScienceDaily, 2011).

Another method for review is to focus on activities with immediate feedback. For example, WeBWorK, flash cards, study groups and practice testing all have elements of formative feedback that is immediate (Weimer, 2017; Dunlosky, 2013; ScienceDaily, 2013; Butler et al., 2008; Ericsson, 2006).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When/how is the professor available outside of class?

Email is the best way to reach me. I typically respond within 24 hours, but I do not check email in the evenings or on Saturdays.

My student drop-in schedule and sign-up for Zoom appointments are posted at https://math.hlasnet.com/officehours

What is the attendance policy?

A record of attendance is required by the University to maintain accurate class rosters. Attendance is not graded but poor attendance may impact participation in group activities (e.g., taking a group quiz individually).

If you are absent, please check the course schedule then meet with the instructor via drop-in hours, Zoom, or email to make sure you are caught up. Graded work that occurs during an authorized absence (school functions, emergencies or illness) may be made up for full credit. Other absences may complete graded assignments late for 90% credit or these assignments may be completed early for full credit.

Late work is expected to be completed within two weeks of the due date or by the last day of classes, whichever occurs first. In situations where a makeup cannot occur, the final exam score may be used as a proxy for a missing assignment. Students missing a week or more of class should contact the Dean of Students Office to get extra support.

What if I am stressed out?

College can be difficult. After all, if it wasn't then you likely are not learning very much. Everyone can benefit from placing their personal well-being as a top priority throughout the semester. Should you want some emotional support for any reason, you can access free counseling services (even one short session to problem solve solutions) from the UWEC Counseling Services on campus. They provide a variety of online and in-person services, including some virtual wellness workshops. Call them at 836-5521, stop by Old Library room 2122, or check out the website to make an appointment: https://www.uwec.edu/counseling-services/

Students also have FREE access to UW System Mental Health Support through Mantra health – a telehealth service available 24/7 days a week (call or text: 888-531-2142 or go online at: app.mantrahealth.com; sign up using your UWEC email address). You can also reach out to the WI-branch of the national crisis/emotional support text line by texting "HOPELINE" to 741 741 or use the national suicide prevention lifeline: 988 Please use these resources to support your mental well-being and success as a Blugold!

What if the math class is too easy or too difficult?

The Department of Mathematics also allows students within entry-level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 109, 112, 114, or 246) to move up to a higher numbered course during the first two weeks of a semester or move down during the first three weeks. Please contact the instructor for more details or for other solutions.

How does grading work?

Final scores (rounded up to the nearest whole number) are compared to the grading scale given in the syllabus to determine a final grade. Individual scores or grades will not be modified because they represent a student's progress in the class throughout the semester. If there is a mistake in scoring, please contact the instructor as soon as possible to get the error fixed.

Midterm grades do not have a score table so are based on the percentage of points completed at the time of midterm submission.

Note: I dislike the University's scale of "F" because I have never once felt that a student has "failed" a class. Instead, I prefer to think of this as a "not pass" where insufficient evidence has been demonstrated by a student to move on to the next level.

What if I need accommodations (like extra time on tests)?

Please let me of know ways that I might be helpful when you notice possible suggestions. For individual accommodations, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 at the beginning of the semester.

What else do I need to know?