49 votes
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Encouraging class participation

This is a small tip based on the obvious idea that it needs to feel safe to answer questions. Suppose you need to take the derivative of x sin x, but you want students to speak up about it in the ...
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36 votes

Encouraging class participation

One important point to make is that you should ensure that interaction is part of the culture of your lectures. It isn't enough to pose a question now and again and expect them to suddenly leap in to ...
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34 votes

Encouraging class participation

The think-pair-share technique is an oldie but a goodie: Pose a question Give students 1 minute to quietly think of and write down their answer (if you have a computer/projector setup you can use an ...
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33 votes
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What is a wise reaction to a silly question?

Every student question should be treated like a gift. It gives insight into student's thinking. Even a disrepectful question is an opportunity for you to teach, except that in such a case you don't ...
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29 votes

Encouraging class participation

Safety: When a wrong answer is given, if you can figure out what would have made it right, you help the student feel safer. Teacher: 2*3 is...? Student: 5 Teacher: oh, I bet you're thinking about 2+3....
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23 votes
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Keeping quicker students engaged and interested throughout a course

Once upon a time I was one of those brighter students. Two things helped. One was the opportunity to help other people. I got started tutoring mathematics when people would come to me for help with ...
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  • 1,735
18 votes

Encouraging class participation

There are a lot of good answers already. That said, we have just scratched the surface. Shifting the environment of math classrooms from one in which students attempt (usually only semi-successfully) ...
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  • 1,888
16 votes

What are some activities/projects I can assign to calculus students from bio/chem/physics majors to specifically motivate their interest?

I took an excellent set of related rates problems from Jim Belk's webpage and turned it into a nice worksheet. I spun the problems this way, to motivate them: We have now covered related rates. ...
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15 votes

Encouraging class participation

When presenting some example, I like to let them cast votes on the correct answer (e.g. for choosing methods of integration, or for the question how many solutions a given linear system has, after ...
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  • 1,791
13 votes

Encouraging class participation

Disclaimer: I teach at university, it is much different than teaching younger students (e.g. I wouldn't really know how to handle them well). The approach that works best for me is to force them to ...
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  • 8,729
12 votes

How To Help a Quiet Class

I've had a remarkable (remarkable to me) success in a different environment on a different topic, so I am not sure this will translate. But I'll mention in anyway. With one change, the same quiet "...
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11 votes

What is a wise reaction to a silly question?

There's already very nice answer of Andrej Bauer, but I would like to view the question from a slightly different perspective. Perhaps one should not call questions silly, but there are questions ...
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  • 8,729
11 votes

Keeping quicker students engaged and interested throughout a course

Differentiation is one of the hardest parts of teaching, for sure. One thing that has helped me a lot is reframing my questions so that they are more "open." For instance, instead of asking ...
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10 votes

Teaching math in an engaging way

One recommendation that I have also given in response to similar questions, check out Jo Boaler's edX course: How to Learn Math for Parents and Teachers. It's currently in progress, but I'm sure it ...
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  • 7,375
10 votes

Nontraditional calculus recitations

I strongly recommend consulting with the department AND Course Instructors before trying new interactive protocols. In one of my first Teaching Assistant jobs, I tried adding a quotation or factoid ...
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10 votes
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Calling on students by name (who do not volunteer) in math classes

This isn't much of an answer, but I think it goes a long ways toward what to think about. Know your class really well. Different questions will work for different students. Your third point is a ...
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  • 5,752
10 votes

How to deal with poor students who don't take notes?

You said that most of your students are first year college students. Such students often lack basic academic skills. Perhaps they were smart enough in high school to get away with not taking notes ...
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9 votes

Encouraging class participation

In teaching calculus, I like to have something like 5% of the course grade be based on "Participation". On the first day of class, when going through the syllabus, I go over what I mean by '...
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  • 806
9 votes
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How should I deal with overenthusastic students?

In any case, you should invite the student to a little chat at your office. You should probably tell him about your concern and ask him if there is something you can do to please him and to give him ...
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9 votes
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Strategies for encouraging student discussion, explaining, and argumentation about mathematics

I will try, though I am a biologist. The main difference between your question and the one linked in the comments seems to be that you want students to realize that articulating mathematics leads to ...
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  • 1,494
9 votes

How To Help a Quiet Class

Start calling on students individually without waiting for any one to raise their hand. For a long time I never did this since I am conflict avoidant and since I didn’t want to put students on the ...
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  • 375
8 votes

Repeating basic material in exercise class at university

This is a good question, and I hope my answer is just the first among other (likely better!) ones. [I'll try not to rant, but I'm not making any promises.] Let me start with a few general remarks. ...
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7 votes

How to make calculus lecture time more interactive?

Two suggestions: The first is to try clickers. They work like the voting system in "who wants to be a millionaire?". You can activate students and foster discussions on questions. There is no need for ...
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7 votes

How should I deal with overenthusastic students?

Talk to them, make them see that you know they know the answers, but that you want to ensure that other (slower) students think it over by themselves before giving the answer. This has done the trick ...
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  • 12k
7 votes

What is a wise reaction to a silly question?

For off-topic questions or just questions that we can't devote the time to answer right away, I have a devoted 'question wall'. The students have access to post-its and use them to post any question ...
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  • 251
7 votes
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Is there a critical class size for student participation (students perspective)?

In my experience, everyone participates in a class of 10. By the time you get to 20, there's maybe a couple of students in the back who aren't really engaged, and class of 30 has a noticeable ...
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  • 7,930
7 votes

Remedying poor interpersonal skills

I've taught about 100 biology discussions and get good interaction evaluations; you can decide if this advice applies to you and calculus. I am making some assumptions about your teaching environment:...
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  • 1,494
7 votes
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How to choose random student to answer questions?

One of the classes I took that I remember most fondly was a Differential Equations class, in which the number of assigned homework problems equaled the number of students in the class. (Granted, there ...
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  • 2,008
6 votes

Encouraging class participation

This will, as others have pointed out, depend on the level. If the students are old enough, I would suggest having students present at the blackboard/whiteboard often. Make it part of your routine ...
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