24 November, 2007

Teacher-of-the-Year Reveals Methods

Wagner, WV-- A math teacher at Wagner High was recently awarded the title of Teacher-of-the-Year by the Academy of Evolutionary Sciences for exemplary teaching methods. During the last five years Horton Lou has taken 116 students who were previously failing math and turned them into A students. After using a series of simple steps, 97.41% of the students not only passed math, but also scored A's as long as Mr. Lou remained their teacher.

Mr. Lou never bombards the students with paper and pencil to test their understanding. Instead he writes out long, complex math problems with solutions covering almost the entire chalk board. With the problems and solutions clearly visible for the students to see, Mr. Lou simply asks the students to raise a hand if they really really want to know how to earn an A.

"The first time I did it, the response was amazing," said Mr. Lou. "Over 50% of the students in the class had a hand raised on the very first day. The failing students did not really want to fail."

On that first day, Mr. Lou asked all of those who really wanted an A to form a line down the center aisle of the classroom. He worked with each student individually, asking, "Do you believe the answer I have presented on the board is the correct answer?" If the student said "Yes," then Mr. Lou continued with, "Repeat after me:

"I know I didn't know the answer before. I have been a failure. I realize I had no clue and was lost for a solution. Recognizing that I did not know, I now admit that the answer is before me. I believe the answer on the board is correct. I truly accept the answer on the board as the correct answer."

"That's all I did," said Mr. Lou. "Hallelujah! Eventually 97.41% of the students who were failing math now believe the correct answers. Since their statements, I have to trust that 97.41% of the previously failing students now understand math completely. "

"The reason for the 2.69% who are still failing is due to the sad fact that some students would not follow through with publicly acknowledging belief in the problem by placing a checkmark by the answer and dipping and rinsing their hands in the nearby basin," said Mr. Lou.

"Without boldly professing their belief in the answer on the board, they will not receive an A," said Mr. Lou. Mr. Lou told them they did not have to have a great understanding to receive an A, just a public confessing that the answer on the board was correct. "Those 2.69% have not yet followed through."

Roger Bankston, a previously failing 10th grader maybe said it best, "The method is so simple. It's as easy as A, B, C, D: Admit, Believe, Check, Dip. If you can remember A, B, C, D, you don't need to worry about the F!"

A student first admits he has not previously understood. Second, he must believe the correct answer is on the board. Third, he needs to place a check by the answer, as a public confession that he believes the answer. Fourth, he must dip his chalky fingers in the basin because Mr. Lou's the teacher and that's his fourth requirement.

Mr. Lou has had some students who he felt truly believed they understood the problems on the board and followed the ABCD plan. But they did not appear to be living like they believed the problems. Mr. Lou did not suggest that they complete the full ABCD's again. He just asked them to rededicate themselves to the math truths by walking the aisle again and placing a checkmark by the correct answer again. They were not asked to dip their fingers in the basin a second time.

Mr. Lou has also had a student every now and then who later admits that he did not really believe the first time he lined up in the center aisle. "I don't take away their A's on the old report cards, but they will only receive F's unless they follow the proper steps in their entirety."

Mr. Lou also had an awkward situation where a student wanted to walk straight over and wash his hands in the basin, without confessing the problem to be correct or placing a checkmark by the answer on the board. That student was not given an A.

In celebration of their A's, all A math students were given a pizza-bite party with grape Kool-aid. The purpose of the pizza-bite party and the Kool-aid is to give the students a reminder that they truly have sufficient math understanding. "Anytime someone tries to tell you that you don't understand math, you remember this moment," says Mr. Lou. "You remember that you lined up in the center aisle, placed a check by the problem on the board, and washed your hands of the chalk."

The pizza-bite and Kool-aid party really helped to encourage the non-party-ing kids to decide to choose to get an A in math. The partiers told their friends, and that's why the initial 50% numbers jumped to 97.41%.

TBNN did ask how the students performed on Stanford Achievement Tests given nationwide. We were warned that the SAT's were not accurately assessing the mathematical achievement of Mr. Lou's A students. "This points to a major problem with so-called 'standards of truth,'" said Mr. Lou. He argues that we must reconsider the national standards. "There are obviously local differences in math understanding that standardized exams are not picking up. Math in Ohio is not always the same as math in West Virginia. The local math understanding is more important in the daily life of kids than a so called 'standard of truth' nationally. My students are A students, regardless of what the national tests show."

8 comments:

Stefan said...

Bwahahaha!

Despite all the A's, what's the retention rate in that class, though? Do a lot of the students drop out before the end of the year?

Andypro said...

When I first read this, I thought that these kids might have trouble once they reached college, with math professors who don’t teach Mr. Lou’s methods. But then I realized that in college they can make their own ‘decisions’, and they can gather up math teachers who won’t tell them that their math is wrong. The only downside I see is that, if they aren’t math majors, these courses would be called ‘electives’.

DiscipleDoug said...

What about the possibility that the remaining 3.84% or whatever number the sums add up to are carnal mathematicians? Or perhaps thay just don't know how desperately the math teacher desires to give them an A if only they would accept the chalk already provided in the pre-installed holders.. Don't they know that? Don't they?

PaPaMarc said...

As I was reading this I was very amused at first but as I kept reading I got sadder and sadder as I remembered that I had been a victim of the same type of teaching that Mr Lou is doing and even though I had been given an "A" I still didn't have a clue about Math.
I am thankful that "The Teacher" eventually broke through with "The Truth" about how to really get an A in math!

AspiringTheologian said...

Like these students, I used to not understand math at all. Thankfully I have turned that situation around 360 degrees.

:-)

Just joking. This is a very humerous post however. Best one in a while. Thank you for a good chuckle!

In Christ,
Albert Shepherd
The Aspiring Theologian

Knight of the Living God

Darrin said...

I had a Calculus professor who was a disgrace to the profession, often stating inaccuracies, so I deduced that there must not really be any laws of mathematics. The whole system is a farce. Someone told me that the truths are absolute, but it was just a relative, so I didn't believe him.

Brother Slawson said...

You guys are good. I didn't realize there were so many parallels of religion and math, especially those dealing with circular logic. I'm impressed.

Jim Pemberton said...

Brilliant!!!

Anyone want any of these exceptional young mathematicians to keep track of your bank account or build your house, automobile, airplane or bridges?

Jethro: "Ought from ought is ought!"
Jed: "That boy can really cipher!"