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  • Last modified 3193 days ago (Feb. 18, 2010)

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Teacher of the month

Staff writer

Hillsboro High School math teacher Bruce Major uses real world problems to help students understand concepts he teaches, student Daniel Kenney said Thursday after geometry class.

The practical applications help the junior become comfortable with abstract mathematical principles, he said.

“It’s probably the class that I take the most out of,” Kenney said.

Major tries to vary his teaching methods, because students learn better with different methods, he said.

One example of differing methods is his use of technology in his classroom, including computers. There are some concepts that can’t be shown with a marker and whiteboard, he said.

It is also important because students will need to be proficient with computers in their careers, he said. But Major still has students work problems on the board at the front of the class, because it can help some students.

He enjoys moments when students suddenly understand something that they were having difficulty with.

“It’s nice to see the student rewarded for thinking it through,” he said.

Major jokes with his students in class, which helps relieve anxiety and makes focusing easier, Kenney said.

Attitudes and expectations have changed since Major began teaching. Teachers must prepare students for state assessments, because they have become more important.

“They have to have a knowledge of the mathematics that have been taught,” he said.

More broadly, Major wants to impart questioning and problem-solving skills to his students, he said.

“He asks a lot from his students, sets high expectations,” HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said of Major.

Major began teaching in 1984 and has taught band, physics, and computer programming, in addition to math. He is in his fifth year at HHS, where he teaches algebra and geometry.

Last modified Feb. 18, 2010

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