My students all completed a teacher evaluation survey for me recently. The responses were positive, but there was a particular prompt for which I noticed that “sometimes” was the modal response. The prompt was “My teacher inspires me.” I am a mathematics teacher, and I think as such, I can inspire, but perhaps need to work hard at it quite consistently. Expecting students to sit and factor quadratics for 30 minutes is not inspiring. Having students graph flight paths of basketballs and water fountains is more inspiring. I do think a balance is needed though: students do need to learn and practice technical skills, but they also need to see the context and relevance of their learning.
Anyway, to address this, I asked students to comment on this. I asked them to write what were the most, and least inspiring aspects of math class this year. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, the students weren’t able to do this anonymously (although in retrospect, I should have gone low-tech: index cards), so that might have limited the frankness of responses.
The first class were very positive, and gave the message that I was, in fact, inspiring. The second group was also positive, but a clear message came through their responses: I lecture too much.
This is clearly going to need to be a focus area for me for next year. How can I overcome this? I think sometimes I am too rushed so deliver the content in the most time efficient, and easy to prepare, manner.
Any ideas out there for limiting lecture in math class?