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Tutor, Business Owner, Technology innovator

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Direction of Math education

Before I start, let me really, really, (did I say really?) encourage you to go to this article A New Age for Algebra, by Lindsay Oishi.  Sure it's got some of the same stuff that you have heard already, but it really hits home how much we NEED to support our educators, and not reduce them to budget cut decisions, or "not right fits" because of personality or pedagogical differences.

In the monthly newsletter, Summing Up, NCTM President J. Michael Shaughnessy addresses in his editorial, Let's not Forget Geometry!, that Geometry is just as important as Algebra, but tends to get shoved to the side.  Though not necessarily in favor of a CORE+ style delivery of mathematics, I do think that the Integrated Mathematics approach helps balance this load.

Jim's Wooden DuckI have to say I agree with the comments Shaughnessy makes. Even as an Algebra teacher, I was not hog wild about math until I took Geometry.  That cued me into my other areas of learning, as I am very much a visual (and tactile) learner .  This gives me an opportunity to pay tribute to a former science teacher of mine, Robert Steinke, who recognized this trait and encouraged me to draw pictures, representations, and create models for what I studied.  My best learning moment wasn't in the classroom session, it was when he taught me how to carve wood before and after class if I wasn't participating in other events.

This also brings me to the reality of online learning, because collaboration HAS to exist because our job to make the other forms of math (problem solving, telling others/explaining math) is NOT a high stakes test item.
I still argue you can't measure a student by what they leave on paper, but what they leave behind for others.