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3/6/2006 Linfield professors discuss project to improve K-12 teaching

McMINNVILLE – Two Linfield College math professors working to improve math and science teaching in K-12 classrooms will discuss their collaboration during a faculty lecture on Wednesday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield College.

Martha VanCleave, associate professor of math, and Julie Fredericks, assistant professor of math, will present "What We’ve Learned From Teaching Teachers: Faculty Involvement in Math Science Partnerships."

Fredericks and VanCleave, along with colleagues from Pacific University, are participating in a partnership with the Northwest Regional Education Service District and the Hillsboro School District to improve instruction in mathematics in K-12 classrooms. The two, along with Pacific faculty members, developed and conducted a two-week summer institute on probability and statistics for K-12 teachers. They have continued to meet with teachers in their schools, assisting with lesson planning, advising and observation as the teachers plan and implement carefully crafted lessons.

"We focus on presenting the mathematical concept using pedagogical methods different from those traditionally found in math classrooms," said VanCleave, department chair. "The goal is to find out what types of partnerships improve student learning in grades K-12."

The experience has provided the opportunity for K-12 teachers to learn new strategies and strengthen content. And VanCleave and Fredericks have benefited as well.

"The opportunity to plan and observe a lesson, even for a middle-school classroom, has helped us to focus more on student thinking and discourse in the classroom as we prepare to teach our classes at Linfield," said Fredericks. "And collaborating with our colleagues from Pacific allowed us the opportunity to share and learn about teaching strategies."

The project has also provided an avenue for research. The Linfield professors are studying the effect of participation on their own teaching practices and examining how they encourage student participation.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.