Friday, May 27, 2011

A New Escalante?

A Muslim woman at a Catholic school!
And the work is unceasing. Ali calls her teaching style 'drill and skill.' Next to her desk, there's a cart sagging with the weight of binders full of transparencies and teaching materials.

"She doesn't just give you homework... she makes you learn it," says former student Brittany Duhn, now a sophomore at Foothill High School in Tustin.

"She's small, but intimidating."

She's also caring.

Justine Mationg didn't pass Ali's entrance test the first time she took it. Or the second.

But after a summer spent working with Ali, Mationg passed the test and got into Advanced Math, where students work as a team, often explaining problems to each other.

This year, at 14, she won the Mathfax competition.
I've used the "drill and skill" phrase for years to challenge those who don't believe in actually learning anything, those who refer to "drill and kill". To this day I thank my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Barton, for ensuring that every one of us learned our multiplication tables up to 12x12. That lady understood drill and skill.

1 comment:

An educator finishing my first year... said...

Holy cow, I so agree!!! lol. The students in elementary (here in WV) are doing some funky multiplication. Now if they like it and it works for them, cool. But drilling, my friends, is how I can multiply in my head. Mad Minute all the way! (It was also my 3rd grade teacher who did the "drill and skill". Each time we passed our multiplication drills, we could put a sticker next to our name for each times table we conquered. You can't do that anymore.)