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Topic: Mathematics reform
Replies: 27   Last Post: Jun 17, 1997 10:55 PM

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W Gary Martin

Posts: 55
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Mathematics reform
Posted: Jun 10, 1997 11:15 AM
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At 9:31 -0400 6/10/97, mark snyder wrote:
>1. My teachers in high school couldn't answer the questions I asked, and
>made me feel stupid for even asking them a question.
>2. My teacher in high school told me I was stupid and that I would never
>learn to do mathematics.
>3. I have a really hard time with word problems. In high school, my
>teachers often got confused when they were explaining how to do word
>problems , and so they couldn't explain to me how to do the problems.
>4. My teacher in high school basically read from the textbook, then
>assigned us a lot of problems to do for homework, then checked only if we
>did them, not whether we did them correctly.

Gee, Mark. This sounds just like *my* high school teachers. I'll never
forget Coach Sterns who spent every Monday of Algebra I rehashing the big
football (or basketball or...) game. Or a colleague of mine from my first
year of teaching (hope he's not lurking on this list) who used to come over
to my room to ask me questions about solving linear equations in
pre-algebra. Or...
OK, to get to my point. The problems you bring forth are real, but hardly
new. And they have nothing to do with reform. (In fact, the Standards
directly address each of your points.)
On the other hand, I had enough good teachers who gave me a view of
mathematics that inspired me to want to know more. And I see that same sort
of teacher in the schools I visit today -- teachers who care about kids and
love mathematics. The "scary stories" may be fun, but there are lots of
teachers who are working hard to do the best they can for their students.
Gary Martin

PS: I'm not sure but that your observations would hold true of *every*
profession/occupation. I was just thinking about all the competent people I
run into every day (waitresses, clerks, taxi drivers, doctors, ...) and
their most incompetent counterparts who go through the motions without any
real effort to do the job right.

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