The Moore Method

The Moore Method: A Pathway to Learner-Centered Instruction

Charles A. Coppin
W. Ted Mahavier
E. Lee May
G. Edgar Parker
Series: MAA Notes
Volume: 75
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 258
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.4169/j.ctt5hh8ps
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  • Book Info
    The Moore Method
    Book Description:

    The Moore Method: A Pathway to Learner-Centered Instruction offers a practical overview of the method as practiced by the four co-authors, serving as both a 'how to' manual for implementing the method and an answer to the question, 'what is the Moore method?'. Moore is well known as creator of The Moore Method (no textbooks, no lectures, no conferring) in which there is a current and growing revival of interest and modified application under inquiry-based learning projects. Beginning with Moore's Method as practiced by Moore himself, the authors proceed to present their own broader definitions of the method before addressing specific details and mechanics of their individual implementations. Each chapter consists of four essays, one by each author, introduced with the commonality of the authors' writings. Topics include the culture the authors strive to establish in the classroom, their grading methods, the development of materials and typical days in the classroom. Appendices include sample tests, sample notes, and diaries of individual courses. With more than 130 references supporting the themes of the book the work provides ample additional reading supporting the transition to learner-centered methods of instruction.

    eISBN: 978-0-88385-973-5
    Subjects: Mathematics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Dedication
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Moore-method teaching has been associated with pedagogies such as discovery-based, inquiry-based, student-centered, Socratic, and constructivist, yet is not fully encompassed by any of these. The bulk of a Moore-method course will consist of student presentations of solutions to problems provided by the instructor that they produce individually without external aids. Such a course meets the students where they are, guides them at a fair and challenging pace through the material, and requires them to construct and present the key mathematical ideas before their peers, a discerning but supportive audience. The primary goal of such a course is to address the...

  6. 2 Moore’s Moore Method
    (pp. 7-12)

    (Coppin) Herein is an attempt to give the reader a snapshot of what an R. L. Moore class was like by examining a particular course of his I took in 1964 and 1965. Contemporaneous classmates will have an account that may vary somewhat from my own but I believe those differences are not of a different species.

    Some background may be in order so that the reader may have a backdrop against which to judge a class like this. I went to graduate school during the social revolution of the 1960s that included civil rights marches, demonstrations in the streets...

  7. 3 What is the Moore Method?
    (pp. 13-28)

    The Moore Method, as practiced by Moore himself, relied on the rigid policies delineated in Chapter 2 on page 9. The consequences of these policies, along with Moore’s own unique personality, created the learning environment he desired. Since the 1950s, many individuals assumed that these rules, and these rules alone, defined the method and applied the rules with widely varying results. Moore’s rules alone are probably not adequate to define the methodandassure a successful implementation. Therefore, in describing the Moore Method as second- and third-generation practitioners, we articulate our commonalities by describing the method in terms of the...

  8. 4 On Culture
    (pp. 29-44)

    We address the culture in the classroom before addressing the mechanics of the method, for we believe that the mechanics have the best chance for success within a classroom of appropriate culture. As our method of instruction will likely be radically different from that to which our students are accustomed and will likely place more responsibility for active learning on them, part of the established culture is to provide some justification to the students as to how this approach can enhance their intellectual growth. By the same reasoning, we need to provide an environment that has the capacity to maximize...

  9. 5 Development and Selection of Materials
    (pp. 45-68)

    This chapter addresses the generation of materials to be used to support Moore Method teaching. Development and usage of materials by the prospective user is treated from various perspectives, including

    guidelines for writing your own problem sequences,

    adapting textbook treatments,

    adapting pre-existing Moore Method course notes,

    modifying materials to fit the realities of a particular class,

    addressing learning-theory issues, and

    obtaining support when using another’s notes.

    These perspectives illustrate principles that may guide the construction of problem sets, resolve the question of authoring notes or adapting pre-existing notes, and provide sources for course notes that have been written for use...

  10. 6 In the Classroom
    (pp. 69-98)

    This chapter presents snapshots of the day-to-day operations in Moore Method classrooms. Several themes run common to the essays. Each author clearly tailors his instruction to individual students and uses some form of diary to track progress of the class and of individual students. Each stresses the importance of the first day of the course, of “selling” the method to the students, and of active participation by the students. Because of this participation, the unpredictability of what might happen in each class is reflected as well. Each author spends considerable time preparing for class by evaluating what has been accomplished...

  11. 7 Grading
    (pp. 99-118)

    Each of the coauthors places a high emphasis on the presentation of material, with the lowest percentage listed by any author being twenty-five percent of the final grade.² While each author outlines a grading scheme that appears, on the surface, to be distinct from the others, all the formulae ensure that those students who create a significant amount of original (to the students) mathematics receive anA. Those students who do not create mathematics, but successfully reproduce the mathematics presented in class by the end of the course, receive at least aD. All strive to allow the students the...

  12. 8 Why Use the Moore Method?
    (pp. 119-138)

    Recurring in each author’s essay is the theme that the Moore Method is a natural way to teach any subject and that, as such, it has the potential to offer considerable benefits to students—benefits that might be expected to extend beyond those associated with successful lecturing. If one were to seek training for a skill outside the walls of the Ivory Tower such as horseback riding, painting, pottery making, investing, programming, or sewing, odds are good that it would be taught through a hands-on, apprenticeship-style model. Participation breeds interest, something we all wish to instill in our students. Consistent...

  13. 9 Evaluation and Assessment: Effectiveness of the Method
    (pp. 139-150)

    In this chapter, we discuss the results of educational research that has been conducted evaluating the impact of the Moore Method and describe the results of educational research on similar teaching approaches, draw parallels to the Moore Method, and make suggestions for further assessment of the effectiveness of the Moore Method for interested readers.

    Whenever an innovation emerges in teaching, there are important questions to be asked. Does the innovation actually work? That is, does it truly improve students’ learning, or does it just give the appearance of doing so? Is it feasible that the innovation can be implemented by...

  14. 10 Frequently Asked Questions
    (pp. 151-176)

    Over the years, each of us has fielded questions related to the Moore Method from audiences during presentations, from colleagues at conferences, and from friends and relatives. We’ve compiled here representative questions, along with responses, alphabetized by author.

    1. Does the Moore Method work only for the bright students?

    2. Do Moore Method instructors lecture?

    3. Does the Moore Method cover less material?

    4. Does the Moore Method work best in upper-level and graduate courses?

    5. Does the Moore Method make the students do the work so the teacher doesn’t?

    6. Does the Moore Method work with cooperative learning?

    7. Is there a list of features that...

  15. I Coppin
    (pp. 177-200)
  16. II Mahavier
    (pp. 201-210)
  17. III May
    (pp. 211-216)
  18. IV Parker
    (pp. 217-228)
  19. About the Authors
    (pp. 229-234)
  20. References
    (pp. 235-242)
  21. Index
    (pp. 243-245)