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Re: Ron's Questions
Posted:
Mar 23, 1995 5:40 PM


I agree with Cindy wholeheartedly.
Tad Watanabe Towson State University Towson, MD 21204
On Thu, 23 Mar 1995 CHAPMAN@APSICC.APS.EDU wrote:
> I'd like to respond to "What should be the principal goal of elementary > mathematics?" I think elementary school is where it is CRUCIAL that > students get the idea that mathematics is MUCH MUCH more than > arithmetic. They need basic understandings and skills but they must > go beyond. They need to be involved in genuine problem solving. They > must be asked to explain and justify their thinking. They must see > that there are many ways to solve problems. Please notice that I did > not exclude basic understandings and skillsthey ought to be able to > perform all four operations, they ought to be at least familiar with the > standard algorithms, (by the time they leave elementary school) although > they may not choose to compute with standard algorithms. They need to > have learned to listen to other students' ways of solving problems. > They should have worked with negative numbersthey should have > flexibility in their thinking, not stuck in the "one right way/ > one right answer" mentality. I think that kind of thinking (that I > just described at the end of that sentence) makes further learning of > mathematics difficult for students and difficult for secondary teachers > to teach. > A middle school teacher once told me (very politely and appropriately > by the way!) that it made her job harder when students told her that > it was impossible to subtract 9 from 7, as they had been taught in > elementary school. They'd be much more ready for middle school and > further math if they knew math was more than rules and procedures. > Cindy Chapman@apsicc.aps.edu >



