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OC Math Circle's First Teacher Training Session

August 25th marked the first Orange County Math Circle Student Teacher Training at Concordia University. In this 4-hour session, Dr. James Li provided instruction for participants on how to help students to focus, deliver lessons effectively, and prepare lesson plans. After leading a brief ice-breaker with the Picture of the Day and explaining the “no-no” cell phone policy, Dr. Li instructed volunteers on problem solving. Although the majority of the participants were highly advanced math students, he brought them back to the basics in order to help the volunteers see the math problems from the point of view of their students. From there, he continued the session with the Basic Learning Principles, in which he showed a slide of the “Content-Performance Matrix,” and the Events Instruction. A demonstration was held by Dr. Li, and the group was split into three smaller groups, in which volunteers collaborated amongst themselves to devise teaching lessons and extensions for a given problem. Following the working time was a game and a break to reenergize all the volunteers, and afterwards, the volunteers presented a 15-minute lesson with their groups. After presenting their prepared lesson and extensions on solving the given problem, the volunteers were critiqued by Dr. Li and fellow participants to improve their teaching strategies. A wrap-up of the meeting, a brief award distribution congratulating volunteers upon completing the long workshop, and a group photo concluded the meeting. 

The overall atmosphere of the teaching workshop was light-hearted, but it was evident that the volunteers who participated in the meeting were eager to improve their lessons. Although his presentation consisted of numerous jokes and teasing, Dr. Li occasionally inserted serious, thought- provoking comments, such as “If you [teach] it right, you will change their lives.”  

Other attendees of the meeting included Mrs. Walker, the teacher from Santa Ana Unified School District, and Johnny Li, the founder of OCMC.

If you are interested in participating in similar training sessions, please contact Alex Zivkovic at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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