Hi, I am Benjamin Wang. I teach Precalculus, and Calculus in Joy International High School (JIHS). I believe conceptual understanding and practice are essential for math study. Besides, language is a very special factor that contributed to their academic success to international school students.
Precalculus completes the formal study of the elementary functions begun in Algebra 1 and 2 and is a gateway to Calculus and College level mathematics. The course is intended to provide the necessary background for continued study in mathematics as well as further prepare students for the mathematics section of college entrance exams. Students taking this rigorous course should have a strong background in both algebra and geometry. Graphing calculator technology is integrated throughout the course as problems are presented both algebraically and graphically. Topics covered include linear relations and functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions and their graphs and inverses, graphical analysis, polar coordinates and parametric equations, vectors, conic sections, matrices, sequences and series.
AP Calculus is designed for students who have excelled in Analytic Geometry & Precalculus and plan to take the Advanced Placement Examination in Calculus. This course covers all topics included in the Calculus AB topic outline as it appears in the AP Calculus Course Description. The main objective of the course is to provide a strong foundation that will give students the tools to succeed in future mathematics courses. The course will give students the understanding of calculus concepts, related mathematical skills, and the appropriate technology to enhance the process. Within a multi-representational approach, a balance between abstract concepts and real applications is sought.
Generally speaking, the math curriculum standards in American high schools are roughly the same as those in Chinese high schools. Compared to the Chinese systems, the mathematics course of JIHS provides more opportunities and wider freedom for students.
I will help the students solve the language problem first. JIHS adopts the original American math textbooks. For students entering the international school, language is the first problem they face. In learning of each unit, we will first study English math terms, English words from common situations of application problems. There are basically 30-60 new words in each unit, and some of these words have been learned in English class, but they just don’t know the corresponding mathematical meaning. After a period of practice, language problems are relatively easy to solve.
JIHS advocates a student-centered educational philosophy. After solving the language problem, some students seem to have fear and aversion to math. In fact, if you look carefully, there is no student who doesn’t want to learn math well. However, for some reason, they have difficulties in learning math now. It is good to help them solve them. By studying various situations, I will find out the reasons for students’ difficulties and give them some targeted suggestions and help to improve their math scores.
In the classroom, I also adhere to the student-centered teaching method. One class of my math is two periods together and 80 minutes long. I usually explain for 40-60 minutes and spend the rest of the time answering questions, finding out if the students really understand how to solve the questions, etc. When a formula is presented in class, I prefer students to learn how to get the formula, rather than memorize it mechanically through training. When I answer questions, if a student makes a mistake, I will give him some guidance based on his idea of solving questions and inspire him to think about how to solve the question in the right way. At the end of each class explanation, I will summarize what knowledge points we learn in the class, how they relate to each other, how they relate to the previous knowledge points in the unit, and so on, to help students connect the knowledge points together. For example, when we learn derivatives, we start from investigating limits and their properties. The special type of limit that is used to find tangents and velocities gives rise to the central idea in differential calculus, the derivative.
Here I want to give some tips for math academic success.
Learning is a step-by-step process. Always keep up with and complete your assignments because you must understand each topic in order to learn the next.
When you are working problems for homework, show every step in your solution. If you make an error, it will be easier for you or your teacher to find it.
There are four parts to each homework assignment: a) work all the problems, b) check the odd answers that are provided in the back of the book, 3) rework the odd problems that you missed and check the results of the even problems, 4)mark the problems that you cannot get to work and ask to see those problems the next day.
Review your work carefully, making sure you understand where and how you made errors. Ask your teacher for help in understanding your errors.
If you are absent, be sure to read the textbook, copy someone’s notes, and ask your teacher if you need help.
Check your thinkwave.com for updates.
JIHS offers six math courses currently, while you need to complete four to graduate. Therefore, students of different levels can choose appropriate courses according to their own situations. For example, students with good mathematical skills can choose the four difficult courses to prove their mathematical ability to the college admissions officer, while students with weak mathematical skills can choose the first four courses to ensure their good academic performance. In this way, students can make use of their strengths and bypass their weaknesses to get ahead in college applications!
As far as I can see, there is no unsmart student nowadays, and all of them want to do well in math and get a good score. As a math teacher, my responsibility is to help students solve their difficulties, provide a quality math class with a student-centered style, while learning math knowledge, improve and expand students’ mathematical thinking, and help them go further and better in their future studies.