
Re: Why trig?
Posted:
Apr 3, 1997 1:43 PM


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 priniski@newnorth.net > 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 nonroutine problems, how to communicate one's mathematical conjectures, and a host of other things raised by the Standards (and generally decried by counterreformers. 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 612) 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 481091259 (313) 4829585 (313) 7639683 email: mikegold@umich.edu


