Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review of "Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)In Mathematics," edited by Jacqueline M. Dewar and Curtis D. Bennett

Review of
Doing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)In Mathematics, edited by Jacqueline M. Dewar and Curtis D. Bennett, The Mathematical Association of America, Washington, D. C., 2014. 210 pp., $43.00 (print on demand). PDF price $23.00 ISBN 9780883851937.

 This book introduces a new acronym, (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, SoTL), but that is the only new concept you will find. Dedicated teachers have been doing what is described in this book since the math teacher position was first defined. Math teachers are always scouring the mathematical countryside looking for new ways to present the subject that they find so fascinating. When something effective is discovered, it is then reported through academic channels.
 The titles of the papers in this collection are generally consistent with the titles that have been used in papers about the teaching of mathematics in the past. Some examples of the papers in this book are:
*) “The Question of Transfer: Investigating How Mathematics Contributes to a Liberal Education”
*) “An Investigation Into the Effectiveness of Pre-Class Reading Questions”
*) “Assessing the Effectiveness of Classroom Visual Cues”
*) “Playing Games to Teach Mathematics”
The last item in this list was my favorite in the collection, where the author created a board game using the popular “Trivial Pursuit” game as a model. When this pedagogical technique was used, the inevitable happened, it was better to pit the good math students against each other as well while the weaker ones also played each other. Any veteran of playing the regular game of “Trivial Pursuit” has experienced this, strong players tend to quickly silence the weaker ones.
 If you are interested in new ways to educate the latest round of students in mathematics, there are many new ideas in this book. Just don’t expect the acronym to be representing anything new under the mathematical sun.

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