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Proposal: Mathematics Learning, Studying, and Education

I have the sense that many of the current followers for this site are (like myself) mostly interested in college teaching. Certainly the example questions seem to lean towards college teaching, although there are several excellent questions about teaching K-12 mathematics.

I suspect that this is a function of how the site was advertised — there is certainly a preponderance of college professors and math Ph.D. students on Math Stack Exchange and MathOverflow, and the result of advertising on these sites is that we get the same preponderance here.

This worries me, because teachers at the K-12 level are a much larger audience than college teachers, and I think it's vital to the future of this site that we attract more of this audience. These things have a tendency to perpetuate themselves: if most of the questions are about college teaching, then the site appeals mostly to college teachers, which means that most of the participants we attract will be college teachers, which means that most of the questions will be about college teaching.

So my question is, are there any good ways to attract more K-12 teachers at this stage? For example, are there any websites frequented by K-12 math teachers that we could advertise on?

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    From some discussion on MO I know that K-12 is not universally understood. AFAIK it abbreviates somehow from kindergarden to 12th grade, so teaching children aged 5(?) to 18(?) or thereabouts. In other words it covers primary and secondary education. – quid Jan 31 '14 at 1:07
  • @quid Ah, good point. – Jim Belk Jan 31 '14 at 1:56
  • If everything else fails, there might be a “trickle down” effect due to the overlaps of subfields. E.g., certain didactical aspects of linear algebra apply as well to analytic geometry, and thus people who are only teaching the latter may find answers here, even if all questions are asked and answered by people teaching the former. – Wrzlprmft Feb 2 '14 at 9:39
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Many provinces and states have active list serves where they hold their own discussions and posting to these would provide access to more K-12 teachers. I am a member of the BCAMT listserve and of bcedchat. We also have a similar thread going, "How can we attract more K-7 teachers to the listserve?" since 'specialists' are more likely to attend. Elementary teachers have a vast array of subject areas to stay current on. The attractive value is relevance> Can the discussions on questions being asked aid a k-12 teacher in better teaching/preparing their students for success in life and not just a university math classroom. Remember it is less than 20% of high schoolers who attend university.

I see great value in the discussion of pedagogy, assessment practices, conceptual understanding and transitions. On our list serve, the contributions of mathematicians & math educators to our discussions really help focus us on our mathematical understandings, priorities and our practices at one level that are impeding understanding at other levels.

  • As a senior secondary math (and physics) teacher (year 10-12), I can definitely agree that this would potentially be a great place for K-12 math teachers. – user99773 Feb 2 '14 at 10:27

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