COLLABORATIVE WRITING ENGAGES STUDENTS IN LEARNING MATHEMATICS
Collaborative learning techniques combined with writing in math classes create an interactive environment which stimulates critical thinking, reduces students' math anxieties and motivates students to take responsibility for their learning. Techniques to combine writing and collaborative activities will be demonstrated and participants' experiences with collaborative writing will be explored.
This workshop will explore processes for combining collaborative learning techniques with writing in math classes in order to involve students more effectively in the learning process and thus enhance their critical thinking skills, decrease their math anxiety, and increase their motivation to learn mathematics.
Research studies are clear, when students become actively involved in the process of exploring and discussing course content they retain more material, perform better on tests and other forms of assessment and develop a greater sense of self esteem. Collaborative learning techniques involve students in many ways by asking them to explain their reasoning to their groups, listening to their peers explanations and responding critically and constructively, presenting their group's solution to the class, working outside of class on group projects and in study groups, and through interactions with the professor during class and outside of class. Combining writing with collaborative learning creates a synergistic effect between the two approaches by helping students focus their thoughts prior to or during group work and by further clarifying their thinking through the editing process.
An interactive format will be used to demonstrate two techniques for combining writing and collaborative learning in math classes. A two-column format developed by pairs of students will be used followed by a description of a math procedure written in pairs. Discussion of participant's experiences will be interspersed between and during the demonstration of these techniques.