Just Teach My Child The Maths, by James Tanton

Source: Just Teach My Child The Maths, by James Tanton

It is astounding to me that mathematics – of all school subjects – elicits such potent emotional reaction when “reform” is in the air.

So … Can we educators work to understand this sentiment, put the right words to it, and fully engage in conversation about it? Can we be fully transparent about our approaches and intents and listen to, honor, learn from, and respond to parental and societal reaction with clarity and grace?

Of course we can and of course we must.

We need to communicate the true goal of given exercises to parents.

If we are going to ask students to practice mathematics ideas, we need provide interesting or meaningful examples with which to practice them.

We need to be sure not to insist on one approach when analyzing a problem. We need to encourage students to generate efficient practices.

Work to have students show their work only when there is work worth showing. Let’s honor our students’ intellectual capabilities and time!

Make showing/explaining your work interesting.

If we truly acknowledge there is a change in mathematics education – as this internet piece purports to demonstrate – then we need to stand by what we value: understanding, flexibility of thought, innovation, problem-solving, reflection on solutions and approaches, and the search for efficiency and elegance.

We must acknowledge that testing agencies in most parts of the world have not yet caught up with what we educators value. We must find the means for students to experience tremendous success on all fronts – with speed testing and with deep understanding and mathematical innovation.