Creative Teaching By Mistakes

Creative Teaching by Mistakes

Author(s): Andrejs Dunkels and Lars-Erik Persson

The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 11, No. 5 (Nov., 1980), pp. 296-300

Published by: Mathematical Association of America

Stable URL:

Tags: First order equations

"At universities in Sweden, mathematics is typically taught in the traditional one-way communication lecture style to large groups of students. But at University of Lulea, an Swedish engineering school, classes capped at 25 are taught in a student-activity format and the subject material is presented in the form of a dialogue between the teacher and the class. Furthermore differential equations classes are taught as a continuation of linear algebra and calculus, as one sequence, and the same staff are assigned to stay with the same group of students throughout this sequence. The benefit of this method is that often the instructor will see the same mistakes appear from one course to the next, and can utilize these old mistakes to reinforce new material. This paper highlights a series of interesing and varied problems in differential equations that resulted from investigating one common integrating mistake. It also highlights why using common mistakes might give students greater motivation to attempt a related problem." Ellen Le, Pomona College, November 15, 2010.

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