Challenge in the Classroom, R. L. Moore VHS tape from the Mathematical Association of America
Four out of five stars
The pedagogical tactics known as the Moore method for teaching mathematics is a significant departure from traditional educational tactics. There is no textbook, in the first meetings the students are given a list of the basic definitions, axioms and theorems that they are expected to prove. There are no lectures and the students are forbidden to discuss the topics outside of class. Students are also discouraged from outside reading, there are no lectures by the instructor and the class time is taken up by students presenting their work in progress. Some of compared it to the classic method of teaching someone swimming, “Sink or swim.”
This tape contains a few short snippets of Moore classes, but the bulk consists of Moore describing and explaining his tactics. He is a slow and deliberative speaker, so the viewer has to exercise a bit of patience when watching. Given the tactics used, it is clear that the word challenge in the title refers to the perspective of the student. One can see how students can either be very successful or extremely frustrated. Moore specifically mentions giving exams in his classes, it would be very interesting to have learned more about the nature of his tests. When there is no text or lectures, what specifically do you put on the exams?