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Topic: Ron's Questions
Replies: 1   Last Post: Mar 23, 1995 5:40 PM

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Tad Watanabe

Posts: 442
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Ron's Questions
Posted: Mar 23, 1995 5:40 PM
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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 skills--they 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 numbers--they 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

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