Teaching Philosophy and Research Interests

I have found mathematics to be a tool for problem solving which provides a framework to more precisely communicate relations and connections among objects around us.  As a result of my continued interests in applied mathematics and the large number of secondary and undergraduate students that see no usefulness in the subject of mathematics, I refuse to teach any mathematics course as a subject disjoint from any program of study or the world in which we live.  As a mathematics educator, I must not only use mathematics in an attempt to solve real problems, I must also demonstrate to future educators how mathematical concepts must be constructed and exchanged in a classroom setting in order that the connections, power, and additional benefits are likewise communicated.  The challenges of my personal studies, along with teaching mathematics in secondary support programs for students at-risk for school failure and teaching mathematics at a liberal arts university, have been quite helpful in providing opportunities to determine if mathematics is a tool in which I believe all students can and must learn to use.

I have learned that teaching mathematics extends beyond a clear, organized presentation of the subject matter.  It also involves providing experiences which connect the curriculum to things outside of the text.  In addition, I must provide an atmosphere where hard work is expected and rewarded, and students are not penalized for every error.  While such class participation is strongly encouraged in higher education, I feel it is vital in the elementary and secondary mathematics classrooms.  I also believe that what teachers know and do strongly influences what students learn.  Mathematics teachers must first learn mathematics, then and only then, can they seek to know pedagogically appropriate ways to introduce mathematical concepts and competencies.

I am very interested in providing preservice and inservice teachers of mathematics with the tools needed to assess instructional practices in order to improve student learning.  Too much emphasis has been placed on assessing where students are, instead of seeking to determine the best way to take them from where they are to where they must be.  It is my intention to continue to participate in the professional development opportunities for mathematics educators to improve in the entire educational system, from early childhood experiences to graduate programs of study.  Therefore, I am prepared to work with teachers and students in local school systems, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as my peers across the university curriculum.

 In addition to my understanding of PreK - 12 and college mathematics, I am a Master Trainer for educators interested in using a variety of technologies (graphing calculators, CBLs, Geometer's Sketchpad, Graphmatica, and on-line research expeditions) to enhance instruction, creating Web pages, searching for information on the Web and evaluating Web resources and /or creating electronic portfolios.  As a Faculty Advisor and Reader for AP Calculus, I will also make myself available to AP Calculus faculty and their classes to review past AP Calculus exams and share how scoring rubrics are applied.