The Game of the Math Professor

                                                 By Vic Odarve

Some students find it frustrating that they cannot make sense of the lesson, and that’s why they feel tired inside the classroom. As a result, they miss the point the professor wants to emphasize. Failure to grasp clearly on the lectures may give its toll in the next succeeding topics. Worse, students are bound to fail the Math course they are taking. But not for a wily mathematics professor! He is bringing his students to his own world… playing his game in a tricky way. It’s a professor’s game.

Working Examples at the classroom,UIC-Davao city, Philippines

Working Examples at the classroom,UIC-Davao city, Philippines

Picture this one out! The professor started his game this way. After a detailed discussion on how to solve the example math problems and sensing that there were no more questions, the professor pointed to the board and said to the students” Alright class, it’s now your turn, work out the following problems in your seats”. To catch their attention, the professor made a simple problem. It was just similar to the example discussed. Just a trick!  If the students understood the discussions, the problems were as easy as eating peanuts. Looking for the students with a big smile, he asked, “Any volunteer to solve this problem?” Surely, almost all students raised their hands. But to the dismay of the students, the professor pointed to students not raising their hands.

A Math exam

       Caritas University, Inugu State, Africa

Then the professor made a second problem on the board.  It was  a difficult one. “Is there any volunteer?” he asked again. Only a few raised their hands. Then the professor told one of the volunteers to solve the problem with the board. Lastly, he made a difficult one. Since nobody raised hands, the professor looked to his best and brightest student. “Just try to solve this one on the board’’, he said. Commanding but supporting words to his favorite student. A bright student is a teacher’s pet! Moments later, silence engulfed the class. Students were very busy wrestling out the steps by steps in solving the problems. Then afterwards, the professor instructed the students working on the boards to explain their works to the class.

Engineering students

Engineering students-Madonna University, Nigeria,Africa

So, what was the next picture? It was a lively discussion. Just like an open forum. Students discussing their solutions on the board and entertained questions, comments, and suggestions. Professor acted as a facilitator. Almost everybody shared the ensuing discussion. The lesson was like a hot cake in which customers were in line waiting for their turn to buy! Unknowingly, the class was slowly and slowly drawn by the spell of this wily professor. That’s how the game works. Students are falling for the line, hook, and sinker. The professor is playing his game in the classroom.

The scenario is quite easy and simple. Yet these simple sequences of drama demonstrate how this professor is playing the minds of the students in the classroom. Unknowingly the professor has opened student’s senses under his spell. Aligning students’ minds with the professor’s mind! Living in harmony! One world, one mind in focus… solving mathematics. He is building a ladder for his students to challenge mathematics.

This is the trick that works! Never a dull moment! A vibrant discussions and lively environment in the making! No frustration! No more tired students. Everybody enjoys the class and dreams when will be the next session. It is the game of the professor.

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