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Topic: remembering math
Replies: 1   Last Post: May 29, 1995 1:09 PM

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Posts: 67
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: remembering math
Posted: May 29, 1995 1:09 PM
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Anne Wheelock writes:

>(Anne Wheelock)
>I am not a math teacher, but I can't help but wonder: Is it possible that
>Dan Hart's students can't remember math from day to day, let alone from year
>to year as he says because their prior curriculum was based on drill and
>they have not learned for understanding?

Well....I'm sure Dan was just generalizing. I know alot of kids who became
excellent math people who came from the so called dreaded "drill and kill"
era. I'll bet Dan Hart's kids (many of them, that is) don't remember from
day to day because in today's society we have MUCH MORE...
1) TV
2) Computer games
3) Kids working after school
4) Kids coming from alcoholic/abusive/non-motivating parents
5) Wide spread drug abuse
6) Kids speaking limited or no English

I am not just making the above items up. I have been teaching high school
mathematics for 22 years now and I have seen these problems slowly get worse
and worse. And as they worsen, I have watched students slowly turn off to
school. I have also watched some new young math teachers in my department
spend thousands of hours with journals, manipulatives, investigations,
problems of the month, no "drill and kill", authentic assessment, group work
and all the other new things suggested in the NCTM standards and their
results are no better than the those of the traditional math teacher. I'm
not saying that I disagree with all of the standards (in fact I use a few
myself!) My young colleagues across the hall have problems with student
apathy and drop outs at approximatley the same rate as everyone else. These
two young guys are excellent math teachers. I am beginning to think that
when a kid works 30 hours a week after school and/or has 122 TV channels to
cruze through every night and/or 45 new CD rom games to play and/or comes
from alcoholic/abusive parents and or come from a family where both parents
must work many hours to keep the family from sinking financially and/or etc
etc etc....that perhaps nothing we do can motivate them to think that
mathematics means a lick to their lives. Perhaps it would be better to
attack the problem at the root (no son, you can't watchs TV until you've done
your homework.....egad....consequences for poor behavior??) rather than make
up all these new standards which are designed to fix a problem that I think
is, perhaps, not mathematical or pedegogical at all? Listen...I can't go
back and check the spelling because I have to go eat to you
all later

Harvey Becker
Woodside High School
Woodside, Calif

PS I like Rex's signature and the end (Gary Larsen)

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