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Teaching Mathematics using Active Learning: Teachers' Preparation in Chile

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 2

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Angeles Dominguez Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Angeles Dominguez is a Professor of the Department of Mathematics within the School of Engineering, a researcher at the School of Education, and the Director of the Master of Education Program at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. Also, she is currently collaborating with the School of Engineering at the University Andres Bello at Santiago, Chile. Angeles holds a bachelor degree in Physics Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey and a doctoral degree in Mathematics Education from Syracuse University, NY. Dr. Dominguez is a member of the Researchers’ National System in Mexico (SNI-1) and has been a visiting researcher at Syracuse University, at UT-Austin and at Universidad Andres Bello. She teaches undergraduate courses in Mathematics, graduate courses in Education, and is a thesis advisor on the master and doctoral programs on education at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Her main research areas are: models and modeling, use of technology to improve learning, gender issues in STEM.

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Genaro Zavala Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Genaro Zavala is Full Professor of Physics and Director of Educational Innovation in the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Professor Zavala is National Researcher Level 1 of the National System of Researchers of Mexico and leads the Physics Education Research and Innovation Group. He works with the following research lines: conceptual understanding of students on subjects of physics, transfer of understanding between the different areas of knowledge, use of technology in learning, impact of using innovative learning environments and development of assessment tools. He has 76 articles in refereed journals and conferences, over 450 citations according to the ISI Web of Science, 6 books, 13 book chapters, 139 national and international presentations in countries like Korea, Denmark, Hungary, Cuba, United States, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina and 29 international workshops in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Italy. Genaro Zavala was appointed to the editorial board of the Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research journal of the American Physical Society for the period 2015-2018, vice president of the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently the coordinator of the Topical Group: Evaluation of Learning and Instruction of the International Group for Research and Teaching of Physics (GIREP by its French acronym). Dr. Zavala is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he is currently a member of the Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) and elected member of Leadership Organizing Physics Education Research Council (PERLOC).

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Maria Elena Truyol Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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María Elena Truyol, Ph.D., is full professor and researcher of the Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB). She graduated as physics teacher (for middle and high school), physics (M.Sc.) and Ph.D. in Physics at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. In 2013 she obtained a three-year postdoctoral position at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her focus is set on educational research, physics education, problem-solving, design of instructional material and teacher training. She teaches undergraduate courses related to environmental management, energy and fundamentals of industrial processes at the School of Engineering, UNAB. She currently is coordinating the Educational and Academic Innovation Unit at the School of Engineering (UNAB) that is engaged with the continuing teacher training in active learning methodologies at the three campuses of the School of Engineering (Santiago, Viña del Mar and Concepción, Chile). She authored several manuscripts in the science education area, joined several research projects, participated in international conferences with oral presentations and key note lectures and serves as referee for journals, funding institutions and associations.

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The effectiveness of active learning has been demonstrated in many studies conducted across multiple disciplines, levels, countries, and backgrounds. Nevertheless, few of those published have focused on teaching mathematics with active learning methodologies. In particular, even though Latin American universities have an increased interest in student-centered methodologies, there are not enough documented experiences of Spanish-speaking universities using active learning methodologies. This work reports a unique experience with a group of instructors teaching mathematics using active learning in a private university in Chile. In that scenario, twelve instructors of the Engineering School received professional development training on both active learning and collaborative methodologies with the aim of enabling them to modify the way they prepare their classes and interact with students in the classrooms. These instructors taught basic math courses for engineering students under the supervision of two coordinators that also participated in this study. The development training started with an introductory workshop focused on raising awareness among the participants about the importance and the need for a change of paradigm in classroom practice. Then, the instructors participated on follow-up sessions, class observations and feedback sessions. They received guidance on the design of pedagogical material that could foster students’ engagement in their own learning. In the first semester of implementation of this experience, over 1300 students from the first and second years of the engineering program enrolled on the selected courses. In this paper, we present a description of the instructors’ training methodology, the follow-up during the semester, instructors’ perspectives at the end of the semester measured by an interview, as well as students’ performance in terms of passing ratio, their perception of the pedagogical approach and about their own learning. Among other results, some courses showed an improvement in the percentage of passing grades compared to a preceding year and an increased percentage of students not dropping out of the courses. However, in some other courses the results showed that more improvement is needed. Evidence was found about some factors that may affect the success of the implementation of innovation in class. Instructors’ previous preparation and perception of their own teaching appears to be an important factor, as well as the way students’ perceived their interaction with knowledge and their responsibility to the act of constructing that knowledge on their own. These results were encouraging to continue working with a professional development program for faculties for this Engineering School to transform their teaching practices.

Dominguez, A., & Zavala, G., & Truyol, M. E. (2017, June), Teaching Mathematics using Active Learning: Teachers' Preparation in Chile Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28922

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