Date: Jun 4, 1995 6:33 PM
Author: Karen Dee Michalowicz
According to Tad Watanabe:
> Here is an extreme example I observed this past spring in a public school
> (fifth grade classroom). There was a boy in that class who had
> difficulty adding two three digit numbers. I'm not even sure what kind
> of number sense he had, but, I'm pretty sure the teacher knew he would
> not be able to understand any of the materials that were being discussed
> in the curriculum. Would it be ethical if the teacher simply taught the
> materials to the class, including that boy?
> I know this is an extreme case, but, what if the teacher knew some of
> his/her students would not understand the materials suggested in the
> curriculum? Maybe what I meant was if it would be ethical if the teacher
> taught the same curriculum to everyone in the same manner, especially
> when the teacher knows the materials are not appropriate to some of the
I am pleased that Tad is thinking about the equity issue.
However it is not an easy issue. I think before
some of us start talking about equity in the
classroom we need to do some reading and research. A place to
start is the new NCTM book entitled New Directions for Equity
in Mathematics Education.
Equity has many directions. In the situation described by Tad
the task is to provide the opportunity for every child to
succeed. If it was my classroom the fifth grader would have a
calculator if he had trouble adding. I'm sure we all realize
that students that are having such problems in fifth grade
probably have some math disability. Also, I'm sure many of us
realize that many students that have computational difficulties
actually understand what is happening in math. They need
challenges as well as the students without difficulties.
Bottom line, we need to be more informed about appropriate
pedagogy and content. And, we need to actually understand what
equity is. It isn't the same in every classroom. However,
there are universals that apply.
Math History Lives!
Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer
Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education
The Langley School in Sciences and Technology
1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA
703-356-1920(w) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or-- KarenDM@aol.com