The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine what methods the
Interactive Math Program™ (IMP) teacher uses to promote student participation and enhance the learning process. The study was conducted at a large suburban high school in the Pacific Northwest. Two teachers and three separate classes of students (mostly sophomore) were observed. Data was collected through passive observations, formal and informal interviews of the teachers, and review of the student presentations and homework assignments. Pseudonyms were used in the final report to protect the participants' rights to privacy.
IMP teachers need to have a large number of teaching methods and classroom
management techniques at their disposal. Whereas the traditional teacher is often viewed as a lecturer or modeler, the IMP teacher "guides" students through inductive explorations of mathematical topics. Control is shared with the students in many areas. Students engage in more Type III, IV, and V interactions (Koch, 1992), than in traditional math classes.
This paper identifies techniques that were used by two teachers to effectively teach the class. They have been categorized into two main areas: classroom management and instructional. Activity predominates in the IMP classroom and teachers need to continually monitor and adjust their teaching methods to provide an optimum learning environment. Both teachers demonstrated the importance of remaining flexible and having a wide range of teaching techniques to call upon.
IMP gives students the opportunity to learn math in a different way. It should not
be confused with remedial math. Students actively discover mathematical concepts and practice problem solving skills, rather than memorize and apply algorithms.
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