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The Two Sides of the New Math Class

The Intent Behind the New EAP Math Class

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As spring rolled around the 2016-2017 school year, juniors deciding on senior classes were presented with a new option for a math class. The EAP senior math class was recently created and implemented in schools for the past four or five years but this school year is the first year it is being taught at Rocklin.

The two teachers who are teaches this course are Mrs. Mitchell and Mrs. Luke.

According to Mrs. Mitchell, the main purposes of the course is to teach the students to use what they know to think through problems to the best of their ability.

“The student population in the class has seen all the content before, but they have holes and gaps because they didn’t understand the foundational knowledge, so they’re coming at it in a different way” says Mitchell.

However, a large fraction of the students placed in the class are frustrated with the lack of teaching that takes place. They feel that they would understand the material more clearly if they were taught how to solve the problems before having to brainstorm solutions.

I’m asking them to think on their own and they want me to tell them so that they can memorize versus  really understand what’s happening, so it’s a mind shift. I’m not gonna instruct so that you can understand the content, and it’s a struggle for some students because they haven’t had to really do that before” says Mitchell.

I think that the [student] population thought it was gonna be something different than what it is,” says Mitchell, “they weren’t really ready for me to challenge them in the way that they’re being challenged. It’s tough, it’s not an easy A course. We have made an easy pathway for you to be successful but to really understand it and to get an A you have to do the work and I think that some of my students just aren’t ready for that.”

As with anything new, there is a series of trial and error that allows improvements to be made. With this specific course, the teachers feel that the instructions they received weren’t exactly how the writers intended for them to approach the course.

“I’ve noticed teachers come in and they’re confused about the class so even they don’t know what’s going on” says senior, Morgan Waltman.

“It’s a very new class and I feel like it’s too new for the teachers so it makes it harder on students.” says senior, Alexis Williams.

But although it is new, the teachers understand the intent behind the way the course is designed and recognize that is it built to teach students to challenge themselves and expand their skills.

I think that the [student] population thought it was gonna be something different than what it is,” says Mitchell, “they weren’t really ready for me to challenge them in the way that they’re being challenged. It’s tough, it’s not an easy A course. We have made an easy pathway for you to be successful but to really understand it and to get an A you have to do the work and I think that some of my students just aren’t ready for that.”

Mitchell says that they are able to recognize when they need to take a different approach and make changes on the fly, as they are still trying to figure out how to effectively teach the class.

I think that’s the same with any brand new course. You find things that you can do that’s about teaching and self reflection.”

Overall, however, they are glad that the course is being implemented and they feel that it is designed to deepen the level of understanding students gain from developing the skills they need to do the problem solving.

1 Comment

One Response to “The Two Sides of the New Math Class”

  1. Mildred on March 24th, 2018 12:20 pm

    This is a horribly written story. Is this what passes for English grammar today? Shame on parents, teachers, and the students for their apathetic attitudes.

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