How To Teach Calculus

Teaching calculus is quite demanding. The preparation alone is tedious. You have to gather a lot of materials in order to cover broad topics ranging from derivatives to infinite series, from integrals to limits, etc. Then, you have to outline the topics so you can figure out how much you can cover during the term. Afterwards, you have to tap your imagination. Design your lessons creatively in order to keep your students hooked. Bear in mind that you will be dealing with high school students. Straight lectures can easily bore them. But don’t fret. Teaching calculus can turn out to be fun despite the extensive requirement. Benefit from these suggestions and handle your next calculus class more effectively and efficiently:

  • Conduct student assessments. Use your initial class sessions in evaluating your students’ proficiency level and learning mode. Don’t hurry in covering the actual lessons. Get to know them more during your first two or three meetings.
  • Determine the extent of your students’ skills in mathematics. Do they have the thorough grounding in algebra, trigonometry, and geometry? Are they prepared to take calculus lessons? Give them some standard diagnostic tests. While checking their answers, initiate a discussion. Motivate them to justify their answers. Listen and observe. If the assessment results are not encouraging, adjust your lesson outline. Include fundamental topics to let them enhance their skills in mathematics. Meanwhile, if the assessment results are impressive, figure out how you can further enrich your lesson outline.
  • Identify your students’ learning mode. Download some templates from the Internet. Your students can answer the questions contained in those templates. Collate their answers and note the prevailing learning mode. If most of your students are visual learners, improve your teaching aids. Make your PowerPoint presentations more visually appealing. Write on the board the salient points in your discussion. If most of them are auditory learners, prepare to give a lot of examples. Exert more effort in explaining concepts and theories. And if most of them are kinetic learners, incorporate more games, group dynamics, simulations, or role-playing to frame your lessons.
  • Shortlist references. It is more practical to designate two books for your calculus class. Select a textbook. Your students can consult if they wish to learn about concepts, theories, and principles. Then, choose a workbook. Your students can access it if they desire to enhance their learning. It should contain exercises, experiments, analyses, and applications.
  • Improve your teaching style. Inspire your students to comprehend the lessons well. Simplify your discussions. Zero in on how your students can apply their learning on their day-to-day undertakings. Don’t just push them to memorize facts. While working on some exercises, let them justify their answers. Listen to their perspective. React or provide feedback, whenever necessary.

Planning your lessons can make teaching calculus easier. But don’t get frustrated when modifications are required along the way. Teaching calculus only becomes effective and efficient when your lessons can be adjusted to meet your students’ specific needs. Be patient. After the term, you will certainly be more confident in teaching calculus. Your modifications this term can provide great insights in making your next calculus class more engaging and worthwhile.


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