Univeristy Professor Becomes A Mentor in Order To Improve Her Graduate Methods Class

by Richard E. Lange

A unique exploratory research project, under the direction of Professor Marsha Landau at Na tional-Louis University, Evanston, IL
involves a former student of her graduate mathematics methods class. Landau was not satisfied with the typical end-of-the-semester course evaluation form since the student is asked to make comments about the recently completed graduate class without really applying what was just learned in a school setting. Using a mentorship relationship model, Landau has decided to "stick with" one of her most recent graduates as the former student begins to teach math at a middle school in Evanston, IL this fall.

In an effort to make her math methods class more meaningful for future students, Marsha plans to meet regularly with her former student/now teacher to see just how effective her methods class was. Since both persons feel that journaling will be a key factor in sharing useful information, Landau is designing a series of journal writing prompts that will be reflective in nature. Realizing that asking her former student questions like, "How did it go in your math class today?" or "What have you used with your math students that you learned in my methods class?" may not be as helpful to Landau since these questions may only generate shallow or short answers.

If anyone has used writing prompts in the journaling process, please share your experience so that MLRN may offer your ideas to others. Sample sentences that will trigger responses about the effectiveness of Professor Landau's math methods class would be appreciated.

Landau plans to ask some of the same questions at the beginning of the year and then again in late spring as a part of an evaluation process to measure growth of the student and thus help with the curriculum of the university methods class.