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A Pitsco Education Algebra lab
is enabling teachers at Carolina High
School & Academy in Greenville, South
Carolina, to step outside their “traditional
teaching box” to help students succeed.
In fact, they’re so busy moving around
the classroom, there isn’t ever time to
get back inside their box.
Pitsco Algebra is taught in a student-centered
delivery system that does not involve traditional
lecture and examples worked on the marker board every
day. Because students work individually or in pairs, teachers
enjoy more one-on-one and one-on-two time with students at
their workstations: assessing their performance, answering
questions, and ensuring they understand key concepts.
“Not all teachers could come in and teach this class,”
said Carolina Principal Anthony Holland, who helped select
Facilitator Andrew Baker, a December 2008 graduate of
Clemson University. Not far removed from high school himself,
Baker could relate well to the students, and his passion for
teaching math made him willing to try a new approach that
could possibly benefit more students.
“What really won me over is his love for the students,”
Holland said. “He wants to see the students go from Point A
to Point B. And his students believe in him too. He has great
rapport with the kids. They know he believes in them, and
they work for him.”
Baker’s college education courses and student teaching
assignment didn’t prepare him specifically for the Pitsco lab
experience. “My student teaching was traditional style. It
did prepare me as far as the concepts, discipline, and those
kinds of things.” As for his first teaching assignment being in a
nontraditional setup, “I was excited about it, and I didn’t know
what to expect. I’d never seen it before.”
Even with a couple days of one-on-one professional training
to learn how to operate the lab, Baker still wasn’t completely
comfortable in the spring semester. Not until he personally
reviewed all 28 Modules this past summer and early fall did he
feel fully prepared to teach Pitsco Algebra.
“You can go through all the slides under Teacher Tips, but
I felt like even though I could go through quickly, I might miss
things, so I did it as a student,” Baker said of the review.
Giving up approximately 80 hours of his free time to learn
every screen of Module content was well worth it to Baker. “I
feel like it’s a must just so you can be prepared to answer
questions the students have so they can learn what they’re
supposed to. If you don’t know, then how can you expect
them to know how to do it?”