Why do so many professors just do proofs in class?

  • Thread starter Poop-Loops
  • Start date

JasonRox

Homework Helper
Gold Member
2,228
2
My friend, Scot (who is a fantastic math teacher), wrote a little page for his website called "Seven Types of Math Teachers To Avoid". Number one is the "walking, talking textbook." :biggrin:
The first 3 are definitely common!

Man, I was to print a copy of that and post it on the Math Bulletin board.
 
Teacher to avoid #6

Those are the best kinds of teachers, you learn so much more if you do it yourself.

Edit: That's not to say a prof shouldn't do any proofs in class, but I think many should be left for homework assignments.
 
Last edited:
178
0
My friend, Scot (who is a fantastic math teacher), wrote a little page for his website called "Seven Types of Math Teachers To Avoid". Number one is the "walking, talking textbook." :biggrin:
i have a teacher who is literally all 7 of those in one. For me every teacher is effectively a number 6 because i have spend all of class staving off sleep because i had to wake up so early for class
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,667
843
it was that way when i was in school. i think the implication waS THt shopwing you how to work problems was so easy it did not rquire a prof to do it, you could do it for yourself. so they taught you the theory and you ropacticed applying it on your own. it really is quite easy to do from any problem book oike schaum's as i eventully klearned, once i out the time in.

the deal is many of us were so spoiled in high school having ouir hands held through every step in clas,w e never thought to take the inmitiative to practice problems on our won. this habit is deadly in a top school. i flunked out myself until i learned to take sone responsibility for my own learning.

so the short version is, you should be glad at the rates of tuition you are paying that your prof does not function in class as a lab assistant.
 
337
0
I'm sorry to say, the only thing I ever get out of lectures is knowledge of what is likely to be covered on the test, but I don’t think it’s really the professors fault.

Watching a professor prove something or doing an example problem in class is worthless to me, I’m too much of a "hands on" learner. When I start working on a new chapter, I go straight to the problems and try to work some of them for a couple hours. Sometimes I can figure them out by looking for some formulas from the chapters, sometimes I can’t. I find the only way the theory and proofs make sense to me is in the context of applying them to problem solving. The best way for me to learn a subject well is to try to solve a problem and fail. Then, once I can solve the problem, I need to understand why my approach didn’t work, office hours are great for this.

I had one of my professors tell me once that I seem to understand this stuff (micro electronic circuit class) much better then most of my classmates (class of 14 people) and he asked me why I miss so many lectures. I told him, nicely of course, about my problem with watching someone else do proofs and examples and he understood immediately. He said he wished he could do classes differently and really expand on what's presented in the book, but so few students ever bother to read ahead in their books that he has no choice but to go over everything step by step if he expects more then a few to pass. I find that really sad.
 
hey, poops.

office hours are essential for doing homework problems. i camped out in my profs' offices for EM2 and the grad quantum sequence!
 
We get a tutorial class one day a week for E&M and QM. Looks like it will be crucial.

Also, you're from Talk Bass, right?
 
We get a tutorial class one day a week for E&M and QM. Looks like it will be crucial.

Also, you're from Talk Bass, right?
there is only one brad barker on the internet, right? ;)
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,667
843
why do so many students just want problems worked in class? dont they know how to work problems on their own?
 
why do so many students just want problems worked in class? dont they know how to work problems on their own?
I think you just answered your own question.

If so many of them want it, they must not know how to do it.
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,667
843
indeed, so what is the appropriate response? give in to their incapacity? or hold them to a higher standard, where they are expected to do some work on their own?

it is not at all clear that when faced with students who have no experience with doing their own work, that one should respond by babying them further.
 

symbolipoint

Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,351
819
indeed, so what is the appropriate response? give in to their incapacity? or hold them to a higher standard, where they are expected to do some work on their own?

it is not at all clear that when faced with students who have no experience with doing their own work, that one should respond by babying them further.
The correct way to administer your instruction is as you indicate: Hold them to a higher standard to do their own work. The trouble with that approach is that some teachers still must worry about keeping their jobs.
 
The correct way to administer your instruction is as you indicate: Hold them to a higher standard to do their own work. The trouble with that approach is that some teachers still must worry about keeping their jobs.
...or everyone just friggin' scours the internet for scans of the david griffiths EM solution manual...
 
I forgot to check back to this thread but regarding the comments about my first post here, I think I was misunderstood. I meant that I think it is important to understand the proof, before plugging in the numbers into the equation. Simply understanding the proof and not using it would be kinda pointless! (In this context)
 
Last edited:

Want to reply to this thread?

"Why do so many professors just do proofs in class?" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Top Threads

Top