Published on Apr 14, 2013
Presented by Joy Pullmann
Managing Editor of School Reform News and an Education Research Fellow at The Heartland Institute
Uploaded on Nov 7, 2011
Talk title: Why math instruction is unnecessary
John is a teacher of math and a homeschooling parent who offers a radical-sounding proposal: that we cease to require math instruction in middle and high school. He came to this point of view over a number of years, as he attempted (and failed) to convince students that the math they were learning was beautiful, useful, or an imperative component of their future prosperity. When he stopped trying to connect math with students and simple tried to connect with the students themselves, he made a profound discovery – kids are suffering from “math anxiety.” If the goal of teaching math is to teach us deductive and inductive reasoning, might games and puzzles be equally effective in developing kids’ reasoning skills – and allow them to fulfill their life missions? “We want to reawaken analytical and critical thinking schools that have been anesthetized by the standard curriculum,” says John.
John Bennett is a math teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and a home-schooling father of four. An outspoken advocate of education reform, he has presented lectures and workshops throughout California. He uses logic puzzles and strategy games in the classroom (and at home) to supplement the traditional mathematics curriculum. John has written three volumes of Pentagrid Puzzles, a new puzzle form he created to challenge deductive logic and visual-spatial reasoning.
Uploaded on Jan 15, 2007
M.J. McDermott is speaking about the current state of math education, as a private citizen .
The main argument for the new way of teaching Mathematics is that this isn’t the 1950’s and nobody does numerical calculations by hand anymore. Scientists, engineers, economists, etc. all use computer programs to do their calculations. If you spend too much time teaching kids how to calculate, you aren’t teaching them mathematics, yAt the core (not pun intended) of this discussion is a basic misunderstand about what it means to understand. Experts at whatever can never explain how they do what they do. Expert knowledge is in the form of pattern recognition procedures regulated by the basal ganglia and not in the form of explicit coding of rational rules. Yet a rich area of research, what is the best way to teach children math in the era of smartphones?
The Tea Party has found another front to attack the Obama administration: elementary arithmetic. The 32-12 problem is making the rounds. I do not know the source and I do not know anything about the core math curricula. There is no context to understand where this example comes from or even if it is really in some workbook. What is the rule? What is the purpose of the exercise? What level? It is not possible to discuss the merit of the method without the context. In any case the video is misleading as “old fashioned” method shown is shorthand for a complicated procedure with the complexity of “borrowing.”
For example 32-17:
17 = 10 + 7
12-7 = 5
20- 10 = 10
Whereas the new method seems to be
17+3 = 20;
20+10 = 30;
30+2 = 32;
(3+10+2 = 15)
Arkansas is well down in the bottom half of states in educational achievement. The woman doing the presentation doesn’t even realize what she is presenting. What she’s showing is what they teach so kids understand the PRINCIPLES underlying multiplication and division. The kids will eventually do it the “normal” way. A geometric visual explanation of the meaning of addition and multiplication is misconstrued as a procedure to do the calculations.
I am not qualified to discuss how to teach children but I am a parent myself. The fact that a parent gets emotional or pokes fun at the way their children are taught does not make her opinion valid.