>(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 breakfast....talk to you all later
Harvey Becker Woodside High School Woodside, Calif
PS I like Rex's signature and the end (Gary Larsen)