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Re: Technology in the classroom
Posted:
Mar 6, 1995 11:40 AM


On the subject of memorizing math facts, the most common misconception parents have about implementing the standards is that this means that students no longer learn "the basics" including addition and multiplication facts. Obviously you can have both, however, the reality is that many elementary teachers have difficulty finding time in the school day to accomplish both. Many also say that they cannot depend on students working on memorizing their facts at home so do not assign this activity as "homework".Complicating the implementation of the Standards is the timetable which many parents have from experience with older children, nieces and nephews, and friends' children that tells them that students should have certain skills mastered by particular grades e.g. math facts mastered by Christmas in fourth grade, double digit multiplication in fourth grade, fractions in fifth grade etc. These assumptions are reinforced by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills which assume that fifth graders indeed should have learned simple manipulation of fractions. When a district reviews the Standards and decides to emphasize other concepts to build number sense etc in children and delay introduction of concepts such as fractions until more children are developmentally ready to understand them, ITBS scores go down, parents see red, and teachers begin to supplement the designed curriculum with the old curriculum (sure, I can teach them to do double digit multiplication, the steps to the algorithm aren't hard to learn with some drill and practice!) to reduce the pressure being applied by irate parents.
Of course, then there isn't enough time to teach the designed curriculum and the whole thing starts to implode. The blame is put on the "new math" and it is junked and teachers go back to the comfortable and reassuring old way of doing things.
So part of implementing the Standards has to be education of parents (and I don't mean having a PTA meeting that only a few attend) and a recognition that even though we may think we have the answers as math educators, we need to make the changes in such a way that parents don't have to give up all the skills which they value.
Change is difficult!
Laura
 Laura Petersen petersen@lcsc.edu
Division of Natural Sciences PHONE 2087992484 LewisClark State College FAX 2087992064 500 8th Avenue Lewiston ID 835012698 USA 



