The other technique is to use other people you already know to bridge the gap: if you go to a conference with your advisor, go to dinner with your advisor and whoever s/he is going to dinner with. At your next conference, maybe you can use your new acquaintance as your next bridge.

Of course this is all easy to say, but for those of us who are shy, this really is hard. To add one more tip that may be controversial, a little alcohol at dinner, if you’re so inclined and with moderation, can also make socialization a littler easier.

]]>The biggest challenge I find in college level education is having to re-teach subjects that were poorly covered in high school. Since only some students come from a very good background, I can’t simply leave the other half of my class behind because “they had a poor high school experience” whether it was their fault, their instructors, or the constantly changing focus in the curriculum. I’ve been falling back on the “banking” method, mostly due to the fact half my students don’t need to “inquire” on some of the material since it would be remedial for them. This has been an ongoing challenge across the board for the freshman mathematics classes, where we all attempt to “catch” people up as best we can…

]]>0. I second Michelle’s comments about Bob Moses, Carol Dweck, and Jo Boaler in her comment. All good stuff. Last year I wrote an AMS Notices article about the connections between Dweck’s research on Mindset and active learning pedagogy in postsecondary mathematics, which you might be interested in: http://www.ams.org/notices/201401/rnoti-p72.pdf

1. I first read Freire’s article “The Banking System of Education” as a college sophomore in an English composition course; it’s an amazing essay.

2. My favorite discussion of R.L. Moore, which lays it all out honestly, is a chapter in the book “Loving and Hating Mathematics: Challenging the Myths of Mathematical Life” by Hersh and John-Steiner. I feel that all mathematics teachers and students should read (at least) selections of this book — it fits very well with Critical Pedagogy.

3. Another book that touches on all of these issues is Ken Bain’s “What the Best College Teachers Do.” While not about mathematics specifically, it is very relevant to this discussion.

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