Jeffrey R. Young at EdSurge spoke with Peter Liljedahl who argues that traditional teaching methods often result in students mimicking what the teacher does without truly understanding the material:

By thinking, [Peter Liljedah] means actively engaging with the course material. The most problematic strategy that many students try instead, he argues, is what he calls “mimicking,” which he has especially found in the math classes he studies. These mimickers dutifully copy the problems presented in classes, but never grok the conceptual underpinnings, so they’re left able only to do problems that are nearly identical to what the teacher showed them.

These are the students who end up hitting a wall when math courses move from easier algebra to more advanced concepts in, say, calculus, he argues.

Liljedahl’s solution is to create a “thinking classroom” where students work in groups on challenging tasks at vertical whiteboards. He claims this approach has been shown to increase student engagement and thinking time by 80%.