Discipline: Science & Mathematics Education
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
- Delaware State University
Co-Author(s): Delayne Johnson and Sharon Smith, Delaware State University, Delaware
Problem-based learning (PBL) helps teachers improve their teaching practices based on the act of reflection and the use of active learning modules. It also supports student development of mathematical content knowledge with emphasis on conceptual understanding.
Many of our incoming college students are underprepared to be successful in college level mathematics courses and often are placed (53%) in remedial courses. Those that do place in introductory college-level courses struggle to grasp the course content. To help address students? college-level readiness in mathematics, instructors participated in two rounds of a one-week summer professional development workshop, the Mathematics Teaching Institute (MTI).
The purpose of the MTI is to train teachers to better support student learning in an active learning environment. Instructors benefit from the MTI because it engages them in developing and implementing alternative teaching practices that encourage the learner to develop their own reasoning skills, rather than solely relying on the reasoning of the instructor.
The goal of the MTI is to 1) expose instructors to alternative teaching practices that encourage students to become critical thinkers, 2) to help instructors create PBL tasks that improve the quality and level of the cognitive demand for student engagement, and 3) to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among STEM instructors to produce STEM rich problems. Instructors implemented the PBL activities in all sections of College Algebra, and have designed some activities for Trigonometry. Preliminary data suggest participation in PBL supports student engagement in course content.
This year, instructors for College Algebra and Trigonometry participated in Professional Learning Community (PLC) during the academic year as an extension of the MTI. The PLC provided space for the instructors to modify or create additional PBL tasks, and analyze student assessment data to make informed decisions about course instruction and policy.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF Targeted Infusion (1533522)
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,