I'd like to know what the parent's real concerns are. Is she talking about basic facts, standard algorithms, long division?
My response regarding algorithms might be built around the following. Part of our job as teachers is to be sure our students have efficient and accurate strategies. We want students to get the right answers and to get there by a fairly direct path. Parents need to hear that. Usually that is what they want too, although sometimes they see that as knowing and using the standard algorithms. If the student really does have efficient and accurate strategies, I'd point that out. If not, I'd make it a personal goal to help her get there. That is still our role, even with student-centered teaching.
I would also emphasize that hand in hand with the teaching of computation, students have been learning to reason mathematically. This happens as they invent and compare strategies. This happens when they explain why things work the way they do. These are not side trips. They have a real purpose that adds rigor to elementary school mathematics.
So how about the fifth grade teachers out there? How have you dealt with anxious parents? or administrators? or the sixth grade teachers? Nancy
On 03 Feb 99, concerned teacher wrote re. Other Issues:
> This is my first year using investigations. One of my > parents, who is also on the school board, expressed concern > about the strength of her child's computations skills since > she will be in the middle school next year.What can I tell > her? >