"helping students reach to the skies"
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Welcome to Dilek Nelson's Philosophy of Teaching

In teaching mathematics, I have four main goals. My primary goal in teaching mathematics is to stimulate students' curiosity in the subject. This goal can be achieved in part by sending positive encouraging messages to the students because students become more committed to learning when they understand that their teacher respects them and cares about their fears and weaknesses concerning mathematics.

Giving a positive and encouraging message is a multi-step task. First, I need to know my students about knowing their mathematical background, what would improve their learning, their confidence level in taking mathematics, their interest and achievements, and their future plans for a living. To have this information, I will ask them to write an essay addressing those issues. Second, I will make mathematics meaningful to students by (1) designing my daily lesson plans according to their essays and (2) giving emphasis on the real world applications of mathematics and its foundations for other areas of studies such as science, business, finance, etc. Third, I will create a positive classroom environment where students can feel free to question and discuss the subject material, to bring examples from real world applications that they are interested in, and to collaborate with each other in class discussions or outside the class. Fourth, I will treat them as if they were future colleagues to help them build the confidence to do well.

My second goal is to have my students be able to make connections between concepts they learn in the class to create a whole picture. Through this whole picture, not only will students be able to manipulate and use the mathematical concepts they learn to solve real world problems but also they will be ready to welcome new mathematical concepts to add them into their whole understanding and grow intellectually. To achieve this goal, I will focus on understanding and deriving formulas rather than memorizing them because deriving formulas requires them to make connections between new material and previous material. Also, I will assign problems that are designed to facilitate their combining previous material with new concepts.

My third goal is for my students to use technology and various mathematical software programs for solving problems because knowing technology is not only a requirement to succeed in the future but also a leverage to do better than others who do not know technology well. Thus, I will design lessons that will require the use of software for solving mathematical problems.

My last goal is to help my students develop critical and analytical problem solving skills in working with a team and individually. Whatever occupation students choose, they will need not only critical and analytical problem solving skills as individuals but also as team players. Therefore, I will design lessons in which students have both individual work and also group work on projects related to the real world.

By respecting my students and by challenging them to do their best in mathematics, both individually and collaboratively, I will meet my goals of stimulating their interest in mathematics, of having my students learn and understand mathematics fully, and of preparing them for a world in which mathematics plays a natural role.