Comments from Students

General Remarks:

  • Spending a semester in Budapest is the best decision I’ve ever made. The astounding BSME program has changed the way I think about math and education. The people I was able to meet have forever changed the way I think about myself and the world. More than anything, I am incredibly grateful for the friends I’ve made. And don’t think this is goodbye, I plan on returning to Hungary as soon as possible.
  • I really REALLY enjoyed this semester in the BSME program. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, whether you’ve already had experience teaching math, or if you are just interested in mathematics education. I have learned so much and have had countless opportunities to improve my teaching abilities and learn more about Hungarian education.
  • BSME was such a great opportunity and I am so sad to leave. I really enjoyed my classes this semester. They challenged me to think in new ways when it comes to math education, ways I had never considered before. I think it has been a really impactful experience for me that I will always remember.
  • My academic experience was amazing this semester. I could not have more good things to say about this program. I felt that I was definitely challenged academically, especially in having to prepare lesson plans. However, I now feel so much more confident in my teaching abilities, and I know I will carry the things I have learned here with me for the rest of my life.
  • I also met some of the most amazing people who are also passionate about education. And had the opportunity to explore Hungary and learn more deeply about a different culture than if I was a tourist. And I got to travel and experience other parts of Europe including Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, and Vienna with my friends in the program. I don’t know what more I could have asked for in a study abroad experience.  🙂

Remarks on Practicum:

  • Getting first hand experience of classrooms and different schools and environment was very interesting. Having the opportunity to plan and teach a lesson after observing and brainstorming was also extremely cool when considering a career in education.
  • This course is excellent as an exposure course, helping students to get first hand accounts of what goes on in the Hungarian math classroom. It was nice that the group was small so we bonded and were comfortable with each other in the classroom and in discussions before and after observations. One of the best parts of this course was the opportunity to sit down and speak with the teachers after their lesson to discuss their approaches, the school and teaching math in general.
  • Being able to visit schools was a huge reason why I wanted to attend BSME, and I was not disappointed by our experience. I think another strength was the variety of schools that we visited, I am glad we got to visit top math schools, alternative schools, and the school for the blind. Also talking to teachers and students was definitely a strength.
  • Discussions with students and teachers gave us new insights into classroom dynamics. It was cool to go inside the brains of the students to see what they liked and didn’t like about their school or class.
  • I really enjoyed getting to see the different methods of teaching this semester. I think it was interesting to see math taught in a way that I haven’t seen before. It was also great to be able to actually teach a lesson to the students. I think the feedback was great after each lesson; I learned a lot.

Remarks on Discovery Learning: The Pósa Method:

  • We learn via the Pósa method; what better way to understand how it works? The problems are super fun, and I enjoy thinking of the connections between problems in a “thread” and also working with other people to find solutions.
  • The problems involved in the course, while elementary in nature, often had beautiful problem-solving techniques behind them and extremely elegant solutions. The way in which problems were put together to create a cohesive narrative of a problem thread in order to guide students’ (and our) learning was masterful and one could see just how much work went into creating the material behind this course. The opportunity and experience of being able to craft a problem thread on our own was both a fun experience and one where we could really begin to envision how to put this method into action.
  • I loved the problem solving. It is a great way to think about math and truly learn from math (instead of just memorizing and regurgitating formulas in theorems). If we can get students as excited about problems solving as this class made me, we can get them excited about math.
  • Wonderful course! It is these types of problems that make me excited to get up in the morning and do math! Overall, it was probably one of my favorite math courses I have ever taken.
  • Peti posed some very good problems for us to work on to develop our own mathematical skills. This class was very hands-on and we were made to do active learning, which is much better, as well as somewhat think about what it means and takes to be a good math teacher by posing interesting problems and having a map of mathematics in one’s head. The atmosphere set up by Peti of informality and friendliness was also very good.

Remarks on Problem Solving in Secondary School Mathematics:

  • I found this class to be very interesting and useful for learning new ways to teach students and introduce problem sets which have related answers and approaches.
  • The discussion surrounding solutions to problems [was a strength of the course]. The exposition was always interesting and the instructor did a great job of motivating problems and providing useful context. It was great to have the problems related back to a high school curriculum and the discussion surrounding where they might fit and how to effectively help students through them.
  • In class discussion was always interesting. The instructor did a good job of talking about the history of problems and challenging us to imagine how they might fit practically into sequence and into a curriculum.
  • Zoltán was a great instructor. Very personable and obviously very knowledgeable. He was able to give interesting and difficult problems and work with us through our struggle. He was also great at thinking on his feet and could reroute an entire lesson to keep us engaged. Overall fantastic course.
  • Even though I felt the most challenged in this course, I feel like I learned a lot about teaching style and benefits of different styles of thinking from this class. Thank you, Zoli, for making each lecture interesting and each problem meaningful.

Remarks on Concept Building through Games and Manipulatives:

  • This course really shifted my perspective on teaching in general as well as my own teaching style. I’ve become more aware of different strategies I can use in class and how to develop lessons to better engage students. The class provides a lot of great game examples which has already proved a valuable resource.
  • Anna has awesome activities and it was amazing to see so many of them and get ideas for how to use games and manipulatives in classes. So many of the activities I think would really help give a student the intuition of a concept. I think teaching a lesson was a very good experience. I have never taught a full lesson before, and it gave me confidence to know I can do it.
  • It was a very fun course. I always looked forward to coming to class to see what new thing Anna would be showing us. The discussions led by Anna were also useful in that they helped challenge a lot of what I had taken for granted in terms of both math content and teaching in general. The assignment which had us give our own lesson was highly beneficial.
  • I like the idea that if you are going to use games and manipulatives with students, you should first use them yourself. Many of the games we played gave a different perspective to concepts I had learned a different way. Many times I said “Wow, cool!” after playing a game.
  • This course helped me see many new ways to incorporate games and manipulatives into my future classroom. I was surprised by the fact that with a little extra thought, it is not difficult to take a topic and create a manipulative. The class was interactive, which made the class enjoyable and the benefits of each game clear. With hands on experience we got to see what problems the students might have with a task, and how to help them. Anna was patient and helpful, making sure we understood each task and the benefits of them. The practice teaching was helpful, and the game we had to make added even more tools to my belt.