Saturday, March 23, 2013

Teaching and Relevance - Especially in Math

Math teacher and edu-blogger Darren Miller at RightontheLeftCoast posted a couple thoughts on the teaching of math and the idea of relevance in education that are worth considering.  The first bit of information comes from a short TED Talks video, featuring math teacher Dan Meyer who argues that our current method of delivering math instruction is setting our kids up for failure and a contempt for - or at least frustration with - the entire skill of computation and numeracy.  

Dan Meyer's points need to be discussed in math departments and schools - and even at dinner tables - across the country.  His points about the blockades to effective math literacy are well explained as:

  1. Lack of initiative
  2. Lack of perseverance
  3. Lack of retention
  4. Aversion to word problems
  5. Eagerness for formulas

A second point of from math teacher Arthur Benjamin argues that our math scaffolding holds as its pinnacle the study of calculus, when it should really focus on the study of probability and statistics.  That, he points out, would be much more relevant and applicable to everyone's life.

Interestingly, the issue of relevance was discussed by education writer Diana Senechal in a recent guest post for Joanne Jacobs.  Diana's points are well developed.

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