Welcome to Valley View High's Math Department

Math Department

Teaching Philosophy

An ancient Chinese Proverb states, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day . . . Teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

This ideal has become the maxim for math teachers at Valley View High School. The dedicated men and women comprising our math department are committed to teaching mathematical reasoning, conceptual understanding, and computational skills that go well beyond rote memorization. We are not here to merely fill students’ minds with facts and formulas from a textbook. We are here to invoke critical thinking that students can use in all aspects of their lives. The teachers at Valley View High School are guided by the principles stated below as they endeavor in mathematics education:

Standards Based Curriculum: Teachers are committed to following a set curriculum. Each core math course at Valley View High School has a set of academic content standards that drive the course and can be seen at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/. These standards define the exact content of each course giving students, teachers and parents the insight as to what the academic expectations for each course will be. Teachers will not be teaching lessons that deviate from the appropriate curriculum. We do not want our students bombarded with isolated pieces of information! We want them to have the structure and direction to see what’s ahead

Conceptual Understanding: Teachers are committed to ensuring our students know the underlying meanings of each concept. It has been scientifically proven (Third International Math and Science Study, 1995) that students will not only remember a concept better, but will also be able to apply the concept to other situations when students understand the why and how behind it. We do not want our students to mimic our steps! We want them to know why we are stepping the way we do so they will be able to determine for themselves the direction they are headed.

Variety of Teaching Methodologies: Teachers are committed to using a variety of teaching strategies. Back when “we” were in high school math class, the majority of teachers seldom looked away from their notes or the chalkboard or the textbook. Learning was actually painful in some instructors’ classes. This is not the case at Valley View. In every subject, teachers are actively engaging students in each lesson. Using a hands-on approach to curriculum implementation, alternative forms of assessments and integrating technology in the form of computer based are examples of how we can make learning math interactive. We do not want our students passively sitting back trying to catch pieces of information! We want them conjecturing thoughts and discovering ideas that lead them to be individual thinkers for the years ahead.

Connecting with all Students: Teachers are committed to building a trust within each student, regardless of ability, that gives students the confidence that we in fact do care about them. Before any learning can take place, students need to know they are not just another name of a seating chart. Students who are “gifted” need to know that they will be challenged while students who “struggle” with math need to know they will be helped. We do not want our students isolated during the learning process! We want their voices to be heard, their concerns to be understood and their teachers to be their audience.