tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post6934336169692994758..comments2017-11-02T05:20:08.840-07:00Comments on Parenting is Political: THIS MATH DEPRESSES MEStepfordTOhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comBlogger12125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-85202573274803600792012-10-04T10:07:29.823-07:002012-10-04T10:07:29.823-07:00Good read, thanks.Good read, thanks.Snippetshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/03652209777512379031noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-72306541206904143102010-12-03T17:16:28.250-08:002010-12-03T17:16:28.250-08:00Annie, I agree as well. I recently discovered that...Annie, I agree as well. I recently discovered that Finland--whose school system I greatly admire--uses a math program that is not much different from ours. (They call it a "problem-solving" approach, but it sounds a lot like "discovery" math to me). Yet their students still perform phenomenally well on international tests. I think it's because in Finland teachers all have masters degrees, and teaching is a well-respected profession. So you could be right, the problem could be that here in North American we don't have math specialists teaching elementary math, and our generalist teachers often don't like math or they just don't understand it. I do believe that constructivist math programs demand a lot more from the teacher, and that many (generalist) elementary teachers--through no real fault of their own--are simply not up to the task.northTOmomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-23817734823839348542010-12-03T14:43:00.539-08:002010-12-03T14:43:00.539-08:00Annie Fetter -- Good point. Here in the U.S. we p...Annie Fetter -- Good point. Here in the U.S. we pay our top students to be Wall Street bankers who wreck our economy. I'd agree that there's something wrong with that picture.Chrishttps://www.blogger.com/profile/12919030671050831251noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-37445537823723162692010-12-03T09:29:17.918-08:002010-12-03T09:29:17.918-08:00Regarding your comment that, "On internationa...Regarding your comment that, "On international tests [...] the US and Canada don't perform particularly well. Year after year, they are outperformed by countries that don't use a constructivist math curriculum--countries such as Singapore and China." Don't disregard who is teaching our children - in other top-performing countries it's the top students, whereas in the US, anyway, it's far from that. See http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/10/15/08teachers.h30.html for one explanation of a recent report.<br /><br />I would argue that the curriculum isn't nearly as important as the person in charge of the classroom.Annie Fetterhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08514065108316890542noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-11097563110535958712010-11-11T14:01:37.690-08:002010-11-11T14:01:37.690-08:00Thanks for your comment. Your article is very info...Thanks for your comment. Your article is very informative and insightful. I too was schooled in the old "new math" and it actually suited me quite well. In a comment on Max Ray's Math Forum blog (http://mathforum.org/blogs/max/2010/11/05/reforming-reform-math/), I wrote a bit about how "reform" math seems to favor one type of math learner, to the near exclusion of all others. This is part of what I said: <br /><br />"I . . . was a kid who only began to enjoy math when it became more abstract, from about 8th grade on. Sure, I liked real-world problems, but the fun of math problems for me was in reducing them to formulas and numbers on the page. I think reform curricula does not encourage that kind of purely symbolic enjoyment of math—in fact it actively discourages it in the early grades. One of my daughters showed an interest in Algebra, so we taught her the basics, and she enjoys doing simple Algebra problems a lot more than anything she does in math at school. They are like puzzles to her, puzzles she can solve with the tools we’ve given her. Does she fully understand what she’s doing? I don’t know, but I don’t think doing this little bit of Algebra is hurting her mathematical understanding. (To keep up her interest in math, my husband is also planning to introduce her to very basic computer programming.)"<br /><br />I think what I was trying to point out in my comment was that "discovery" methods—group work, concrete materials, etc.—are not the only ways to interest kids in math. <br /><br />I also found your comments about the older math textbooks versus the new ones interesting. When my husband changed careers as an adult, and went back to university to get a degree in computer science, he needed a way to brush up on his math. He used the math textbook from my final year of high school. It was written by mathematicians, and covered every thing he needed to bring himself up to speed, including calculus. He actually found it quite difficult, but when he took his first math courses at university (his computer science program was part of the math program at the time), he was very well prepared, whereas the students coming directly from high school found themselves struggling with math, especially calculus.northTOmomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-63243380758625177922010-11-11T06:53:57.923-08:002010-11-11T06:53:57.923-08:00I'm sorry to hear that the constructivist/refo...I'm sorry to hear that the constructivist/reform math craze has spread to Canada. In the US, we've been fighting a losting battle with school boards/districts to have the various programs removed (Everyday Math, Investigations in Number, Data and Space; Connected Math Program; those are the chief culprits). But the publishers are good marketers and the politics is too much for the average community. On occasion they get tossed out, but even when bad texts are NOT used, the method of teaching math is to do it in groups, collaboratively, as the teachers are taught to do in ed schools. <br /><br />I have written about it extensively (see http://educationnext.org/anamazeingapproachtomath/ for an article that describes the state of US K-12 math education and how it got that way), and have decided to teach math when I retire in about five months. I've gone through the ed school hoops but there are still more hoops they make you jump through. Ridiculous hoops, and then they complain about a shortage of qualified math teachers. But that's another topic for another time.Barry Garelickhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/01281266848110087415noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-7932049567299776592010-11-11T06:38:08.268-08:002010-11-11T06:38:08.268-08:00Your blog is a great source of information on this...Your blog is a great source of information on this issue. Thanks.northTOmomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-2282825606968091412010-11-11T05:07:10.129-08:002010-11-11T05:07:10.129-08:00We are fighting the same reform math programs here...We are fighting the same reform math programs here in the US. See our blog:<br /><br />http://midcoastparentsforum.blogspot.com/search/label/MathMidCoast Momhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08441498308640280088noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-52563045971244956542010-10-31T12:02:02.870-07:002010-10-31T12:02:02.870-07:00Thanks FedUpMom. Yes, you can re-post it to Kid-Fr...Thanks FedUpMom. Yes, you can re-post it to Kid-Friendly-Schools.northTOmomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-29494344328377883182010-10-30T18:21:26.606-07:002010-10-30T18:21:26.606-07:00northTOMom, this is fabulous! Can I repost it to ...northTOMom, this is fabulous! Can I repost it to Kid-Friendly Schools? Thanks!FedUpMomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/00951858601020687242noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-39053635083151005972010-10-30T08:34:30.691-07:002010-10-30T08:34:30.691-07:00Chris, I think you're right that programs like...Chris, I think you're right that programs like Everyday Math don't expect kids fully to understand certain concepts the first time around. But I think proponents of these types of programs fail to take into consideration the frustration a child feels when he or she does not fully understand something. And how this frustration contributes to math anxiety.<br /><br />As for tests scores, I don't think these new reform curricula have actually raised math scores since they were introduced over a decade ago. On international tests--as opposed to state or provincial tests that may well be testing only how well kids are absorbing the new curriculum--the US and Canada don't perform particularly well. Year after year, they are outperformed by countries that don't use a constructivist math curriculum--countries such as Singapore and China. I'm not saying higher international test scores should be the goal of math instruction, but I also don't think test scores can be used to defend the current curriculum. I also find it interesting that National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has recently backed down on some of the more controversial reformist proposals set forth in their (in)famous 1989 report.<br /><br />In any case, the debate about math instruction, both in the elementary grades and in high school, continues, as this interesting article in Scientific American attests:<br />http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=numbers-warnorthTOmomhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/08340282997915000608noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7844167015224368882.post-20387262314560298322010-10-29T12:59:46.388-07:002010-10-29T12:59:46.388-07:00I agree completely. These reform math curricula s...I agree completely. These reform math curricula sound great in theory, but our experience is that in practice they're generating math anxiety more than anything else. <br /><br />One of the frustrations we've had with our school's program, Everyday Math, is that its expectations often seem very unclear. In our house, at least, that seems to breed a strong feeling of insecurity and frustration around the subject of math, which I'm afraid is going to outweigh any benefit that might come from the program's attempts to take a more conceptual approach to the subject.<br /> <br />Everyday Math is a "spiral" program, too, and it seems like it's often just trying to introduce certain concepts to the kids that will be revisited and expanded upon later, and that it's not really expecting the kids to master those new concepts, at least not right away. I can see some logic in that, but at the same time, if that's true, I wish someone would tell the kids that it works that way. It's only natural for them to think that they're supposed to be able to do whatever it is they're being asked to do, and to feel as if they have failed if they can't do it.<br /><br />Who knows, maybe it somehow raises math test scores. What difference does it make, if the kids end up hating math? That seems to embody the entire approach of schools today: raise scores at any cost.Chrishttps://www.blogger.com/profile/12919030671050831251noreply@blogger.com