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Topic: To meet a challenge
Replies: 18   Last Post: Oct 6, 2012 10:30 AM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 Paul A. Tanner III Posts: 5,920 Registered: 12/6/04
Re: To meet a challenge
Posted: Oct 5, 2012 10:58 AM

On Fri, Oct 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM, Haim <hpipik@netzero.com> wrote:
> Discussing your formula method for adding fractions with someone who mainly fears and loathes mathematics (a good characterization of most elementary school teachers) strikes me as the height of futility.
>

The non-adult students I've shown the method to - to the degree that they care enough to give an opinion - usually liked the method for the same reason - it makes going from a sum of fractions to a single fraction (after getting the LCD) easier.

That is, what I mean is that the more people have had problems in the past with fraction addition/subtraction and the more they cared enough to be willing to learn a new way of doing things to make things easier, the more they liked it once they learned it. This was especially true for those in algebra and above settings who wanted to make it easier when they had to add/subtract rational functions - or fractional forms in general in algebra.

But when I briefly taught middle school (teaching high school is much to be preferred) I was severely pressured by the principal to stop using the method and to use the usual way. Never mind the positive reaction I got from so many of my students who offered an opinion to me on the matter. I went to the union, showed the method - including proving it, but although they knew the method was utterly valid, they "suggested" to me that I should teach the usual way. This was because the union there was NEA - meaning that the union represented not just teachers but also people in administration including that principal. (How many times have I told you that in so many places these teacher unions are not true unions truly representing the grievances of labor - that they cannot be when they also represent management?)

And so here is my followup question:

Why are so many people - including such principals and including such as you - seem to have no interest at all in making skill performance easier and perhaps making things more understandable as well for those who need to have things made easier and more understandable?

Is it simply that they and you simply fear change?

Is it something else?

Yes, you will say that I ran into someone with power in what you call a mafia as evidence of its existence, that someone entrenched in ways of doing things was not going to allow anything beyond those entrenched ways of doing things, but I note that you in at least one sense are on the same side as this mafia you claim to be against: You both seem to have no interest at all in seeing those who need more help getting more help - you both seem to fear change or care more about something else than the welfare of the students or both.

Message was edited by: Paul A. Tanner III

Date Subject Author
9/25/12 Paul A. Tanner III
9/27/12 kirby urner
9/26/12 Richard Strausz
9/27/12 Wayne Bishop
9/28/12 Paul A. Tanner III
9/28/12 kirby urner
9/28/12 Paul A. Tanner III
9/28/12 kirby urner
9/29/12 Paul A. Tanner III
9/28/12 Richard Strausz
9/30/12 GS Chandy
10/4/12 Haim
10/6/12 Paul A. Tanner III
10/5/12 Haim
10/6/12 Paul A. Tanner III
10/5/12 kirby urner
10/5/12 Haim
10/6/12 Paul A. Tanner III
10/5/12 Haim