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Re: meaningful standards
Posted:
May 28, 1995 11:55 AM


According to Richard Fouchaux: > > I, on the other hand, am a student teacher in my third year of a threeyear > program doing my B.Ed. concurrently with my B.Fine Arts, Music. The fact that > I enjoy and have proven good at teaching math has been a welcome surprise.
Dear Richard, We "oldtimers" have spent many years in the classroom (for me, 33 years) and have taken many mathematics pedagogy courses (math undergraduate, math ed masters, psychology masters). I am an excellent mathematics teacher. However, this has come with experience and coursework. And, the longer I am in mathematics education, I realize the less I know.
> > As you may imagine, and your comments indicated, teacher's colleges these > days are promoting alternative assessment, NCTM standardbased active > learning, etc., etc.. > Actually, I believe that schools of education are promoting educational pedagogy that engages students in all curriculum areas. Believe it or not, some of the "new ideas" are ideas Dewey promoted a half a century ago. I have a mentor who was born in the l830's whose books are never far away from me. Her pedegogy was advante guarde for the late l9th century but it was excellent. If I didn't know she died in l916 I would have been convinced she was on the committee which developed the "notsonewnow" NCTM standards. Her name was Mary Everest Boole.
> I had some problems this year teaching integers using these new methods > (algetiles and other, numberline  based manipulatives), to the point that > the kids themselves said "Can't you just teach us the rules and give us the > homework?  this is too confusing!". I ended up using both and, as an
We have to be electic in teaching our students. We have to find the best way for our students and for ourselves to present the material. I find that teachers who have difficulty in using manipulatives usually are not comfortable with them themselves. If I believe in something and understand something well, I can "sell" it. I know that those who use the algebra lab gear will (Including myself) will tell you that it is one of the best ways for students to understand positive and negative numbers. Learning an algorithm doesn't assure understanding. If my students can demonstrate understanding to me using the gear (ah, alternative assessment), I have no problem with them using the algorithm. Consider the division of fraction algorithm. How many of you have students who ask, "Which number do I flip?" This about kills me when I hear this. But, it does tell me that they don't understand what they are doing and out comes my unifex cubes.

Cheers!
Karen Dee
Presidential Awardee Mathematics, l994 Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education The Langley School in Sciences and Technology 1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA 22012 USA 7033561920(w) EMail: kmichalo@pen.k12.va.us Fax: (703) 7909712 or KarenDM@aol.com



