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Topic: Why trig?
Replies: 21   Last Post: Apr 3, 1997 4:17 PM

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Michael Paul Goldenberg

Posts: 7,041
From: Ann Arbor, MI
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: Why trig?
Posted: Apr 3, 1997 1:43 PM
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On Thu, 3 Apr 1997, Mark & Jane Priniski wrote:

> Mr. Roach says...
> >Apparently Mr. Price idea of teaching mathematics is to provide students
> >with job training. I wonder what he would make of history or music or
> >literature. Are teachers of those subjects providing their students with
> >job skills?
> >

> As a teacher of both Math and Music I find this interesting. The first
> line of the "Homework" sections of my math class outlines begins "Like any
> other art form, to do math well you need practice."
> I work hard on applied and integrated curriculum, but it's important to
> remember the artistic aspects of math as well.
> Mark
> Mark and Jane Priniski
> N9057 Hwy 102
> Rib Lake, WI 54470

Yes, all those aspects are important (to me), but I think part of the
backlash against "real world problems" is that many critics view the
Standards as calling for ALL of one thing and NONE of certain others.
Some readers read the Standards and conclude that its authors oppose
drill, practice, proof, and 'math for math's sake.' Others read them and
see a call for reducing certain elements which have been completely
dominant in many classrooms for close to a century while spending more
time (not ALL time) doing a wide variety of other kinds of mathematics
teaching and learning.

Drill and practice on computation skills has its place. So does seeing the
beauty of mathematics. But so do developing the ability to question why
procedures work, how to solve non-routine problems, how to communicate
one's mathematical conjectures, and a host of other things raised by the
Standards (and generally decried by counter-reformers. There is reason to
believe that some folks have gone to the other extreme (throwing out any
and all parts of traditional math pedagogy entirely), but I haven't met or
spoken with a single one. On the other hand, I sit in mathematics
classrooms every single week at various schools (grades 6-12) in
southeastern Michigan where the instruction is indistinguishable from that
of my own education some 35 years ago. How much impact have the Standards
really had, I wonder.

Michael Paul Goldenberg
University of Michigan 310 E. Cross St.
4002 School of Education Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259 (313) 482-9585
(313) 763-9683 email:


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