Source: Dealing with Hard Problems, by Richard Rusczyk
We ask hard questions because so many of the problems worth solving in life are hard. If they were easy, someone else would have solved them before you got to them. … the whole point of research is to find and answer questions that have never been solved. You can’t learn how to do that without fighting with problems you can’t solve.
Source: Why the Ivy League could end up like the big 3 carmakers: utterly disrupted | Quartz, by Joshua Spodek
American universities today deliver facts, abstract analysis, and credentials over developing students into mature citizens. Administrators and faculty also see themselves as authoritative. Universities appear poised to follow the Big 3.
The equivalent for endowed universities isn’t bankruptcy. It’s the world’s top students going elsewhere or forgoing college altogether. While few today could imagine Harvard losing its status, fewer would have imagined General Motors bankrupt either.
US car makers in the 1960s ignored red flags. Universities today face similar warnings. … Universities’ equivalent of Unsafe at Any Speed is Google no longer requiring college diplomas for its employees.
Schools choose what students can study and motivate by authority. Whatever content they teach, behaviorally they teach compliance. Knowledge, analysis, and compliance were valuable generations ago, in the age of the knowledge worker, not when facts are available instantaneously, as today.
While universities increasingly teach entrepreneurship, many teach about entrepreneurship or specific business skills, not how to take initiative. … Universities talk about developing leaders, but teach academic analysis, which doesn’t hurt, but doesn’t develop emotional and social skills either.
Source: How to Keep Kids Excited About School | Gallup
Students become much less engaged as they move through middle school to high school.
- At this school, I get to do what I do best every day.
- My teachers make me feel my schoolwork is important.
- I feel safe in this school.
- I have fun at school.
- I have a best friend at school.
- In the last seven days, someone has told me I have done good work at school.
- In the last seven days, I have learned something interesting at school.
- The adults at my school care about me.
- I have at least one teacher who makes me excited about the future.
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.