Instructor: Dr. Péter JUHÁSZ

Course Prerequisits: none

Course Description:

In the center of the traditional education of mathematics we see the teacher standing at the teachers' podium revealing the truth and endlessly explaining various topics. They see their great moments in making difficult things easy. It does not bother them that in most cases the children find their questions strange and their answers are of no interest to the kids, and also that their efforts result in little or no fun. By .thinking. he or she means that the students should think about what was told them.

Instead of this we have a vision about students in schools being autonomous thinkers and creative human beings. We do not need obedient slaves, rather companions who take part in the great adventure of the human mind called mathematics. In the center of the classes should be the kids pursuing answers for questions they are interested in and happy to reach their goal. The role of the teacher is still very important, but they are not in the center, they are rather pulling strings from the background. They plan classes so that it is always clear which questions should be answered, why these questions are interesting, and the teacher is careful to give the students the right tools well in advance so they can successfully tackle the problems.

This method slowly but steadily will find its way into education, and not only in mathematics. The designers of this course strongly believe that sooner or later schools will become places where kids enjoy spending time because they study interesting things and use their own brains for thinking.

Students of this course will take this route. Initially they will explore the world of mathematics as .brave pioneers., which means they will take the role of kids-in-a-classroom. But the ultimate goal is to enable them to teach this way, so we will switch the role of being a child with the teachers-to-be and discuss the inner workings of what we do. We also show them the similarities and differences of their and the actual kids' reactions.

The choice of mathematics subject areas we develop will depend on student.s preference and background. Special emphasis will be put on pursuing paths laid out by student.s questions.

To summarize of the philosophy of this course: mathematics is not the private affair of a selected few, but the fun of discovering and autonomous thinking is a right of every kid. Nevertheless, as most of our experience by dealing with gifted students, this course will mainly focus on methods and problems that can be used to educate gifted children.

Course Structure

Classes will be very similar to a problem solving seminar. But there is a significant difference: during the course the students will assume two roles.

The first role is the role of the kids. They will meet problems given to gifted children. These problems will be presented similarly to the way we present them to kids: group work, individual work, team play, quick questions, etc.

The other role is the role of the teacher. We will discuss what should be taken care of when giving the kids a problem, what kind of factors should be taken into account and what the potential caveats are. What are the typical solutions we expect from the kids and what are the most probable wrong answers, proofs and constructions.

This means that the classes will be very similar to the programs for gifted kids occasionally interrupted by didactic explanations.

Course Objectives