email@example.com writes: >Based on your descriptions, the New Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics >appears to be quite sound. When I have the time I will examine the web >site >that you gave.
Thank you for your acknowledgement--I look forward to hearing what you think of it. My original post on the matter was phrased as a question to the list i.e., "Do you think it achieves what it sets out to do?". (Please note you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the electronic document).
>In my opinion, in order to implement sound reforms, it is important to >understand exactly what has happened to mathematics education during >the >past 40 years. In particular, as I mentioned before, a clear >distinction >must be made between the K-12 pre- and post-Sputnik curricula. In the >United >States, many self-styled reformers have lumped these curricula together >and >refer to them as the "traditional curriculum." This twisted, >self-serving >distortion of history is intolerable.
I actually grew up in the 60's in Pennsylvania and had no trouble with the "new math". I particularly enjoyed learning base two in grade 4 or 5, I think. I recall that it made a lot of things clear for me, not least of which was that people made the rules of mathematics, and that, at the symbolic level anyway, they could be changed if the change suited a situation better.
However, I can never be certain whether such enlightening insights were assisted more by what happened in the classroom or in my home environment where my father, a physics professor at Lehigh, or my mother, an elementary school teacher, were both very active in my education. I mainly recall individual seat work in class back then, but my teachers also employed group work and manipulatives, especially in geometry. There were frequent short and informal quizzes--which were always handed in and marked--but few long tests. I don't recall a great deal of homework--but I do recall memorizing times tables and drilling long division in class.
I agree with your comment in an earlier post that the reaction to Sputnik was absurd--but that's easy to say in retrospect, having witnessed the demise of communism from economic, not technological factors. (The McCarthy era was far beyond absurd, and possibly more damaging even than the new math! Ah, hindsight....) I think good teachers are always trying to find better ways to do the job. I don't think it's particularly helpful to label their efforts misguided, unless one offers guidance in the next breath. Nothing points out the need for change better than a fair assessment of the last 40 years. No decade should be off limits when looking for things of value to our cause, but we must remember that we are seeking methods for the 21st century.
-- Richard Fouchaux firstname.lastname@example.org Music 6-8; Math 7 Milne Valley M. S. North York, ON, CA