Bill Menke's BLOG Page: Advanced Placement or Advanced Motivation

The high schools in the suburban New York area in which I live put tremendous emphasis on advanced placement courses, that is, courses that substitute for for the first semester of calculus and other college subjects. These courses really are advanced. But they are also awfully dry and boring! They have too much focus on conveying technical skills, and too little focus on motivating students. I'm sure that high school teachers can teach, for example, the techniques of integration by trigonmetric substitution was well as I can. Or nearly as well. But I would rather them focus their effort on doing what they can almost certainly do better than I: motivate students, get them interested, for example, in mathematics. Its of no benefit to anyone if these students get to college prepared to take Calculus 2, and then decide never to take another math course again! Let's see high school courses that make a subject like calculus exciting!