My Budapest, Hungary plans to visit mathematics classrooms continue to come together. Below is a list of the schools (without the details) I have been invited to view. What an amazing privilege!
You will be teaching your own lessons to the students in the bilingual program of this school, where they learn mathematics in English.
2. _ Primary and Secondary School: : This school has the strongest mathematics immersion program in Hungary.
3._Gimnázium: A traditional high school where you can observe the Pósa method in a school setting.
4._School: A bilingual secondary school for students specializing in Chemistry, Environment and IT.
5. _Alternative Secondary School of Economics (__Gimnázium): This school puts great emphasis on students’ individual growth and freedom, and uses teaching methods such as cooperative learning and differentiated instruction in order to reach these aims.
6.___School : This is an alternative primary school for grade 1- 6 students. It is a student centered school, whose aim is to maintain students’ inner force and educate students to be self-directed and autonomous.
7._Vocational Secondary School (__Líceum): This school is specifically designed for students who have had difficulties in mainstream schools due to emotional issues or learning disabilities.
Struggle and Learning Mathematics
I went for a hike today in preparation for my journey to mathematics. While I have hiked 3 of the 46 Adirondack New York High Peaks, the last time I hiked, was a year ago at Tremont State Park in Ithaca, New York. I am out of shape, but why is hiking important to learning mathematics? Today, on my hike to Labrador Hollow Unique Area. I wanted to stop after only 5 minutes. My lungs hurt. My feet hurt, and I wondered why I was out in the woods. My body said stop, but my brain said “you came all this way from Oswego to hike with friend, so forget the
pain and hike”. What does this have to do with learning mathematics? Learning mathematics often requires the type of struggle experienced while hiking. Just as hiking up a mountain requires some physical and mental struggle, learning mathematics can be the same. I believe that if I had understood that struggle was part of the learning process in mathematics, I may have been able to go further in my learning. In my early days of learning mathematics, I did not know that struggle was part of the learning process. I thought that everyone knew more than I did, and I th
ink I stopped learning as much as I could have learned because I though that struggle was a sign of weakness. An important quote from Albert Einstein, “Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics; I assure you that mine are greater”.
So, if Albert Einstein is quoted as accepting the struggle, my job as a mathematics educator is to help others see that struggle is part of the process. I am proud of my hike today. I had a chance to think about nature and how my work with learning mathematics is a universal struggle. Think about anything that is worth learning. If it comes easily, is it as satisfying as if you have had to struggle? I am not sure. My journey begins as I am reminded about why this work is important.
My colleague Pat Pacitti, at SUNY Oswego, reminded me abut her project with mostly community college faculty to create a resource for problem solving with real world problems. The text is important because the group produced specific hands on problems in Algebra. This course text was developed to promote mathematical and general skills for the workplace. Check out the overview.
I am excited about being invited to an additional conference in Budapest. It is all about George Polya. It is called “How Did You Solve it?” – The School of Mathematical Discovery and its History (Balatonfüred, September 14–16, 2017). It is not really in Budapest, but it is in Hungary. You have no idea how important Polya is to mathematics education. I think about how we ask students to struggle through the process of learning mathematics and then low and behold, Polya’s heuristics helped build a process of retrieval and problem-solving in mathematics.
On September 8, I will be leaving Oswego to attend an International Mathematics Education Conference is Hungary. The organizer Alan Rogerson always selects a place where you can relax, learn and live. I look forward to the time with international colleagues interested in a lot of the same things I am interested in. I feel quite a bit of privilege to be in the space with these mathematics education colleagues. I will present a paper, and learn about myself, and think about next steps.
While on Sabbatical, Fall 2017, my hope is to provide you with a window to my personal and professional thoughts about mathematics education. Some of the thoughts will be for use as part of my work as a professor at SUNY Oswego and others should be viewed and read as if it is a stream of consciousness as I explore my journey as a mathematics educator. Comments are welcome.