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Topic: Frank Allen
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Bill Roloff

Posts: 6
Registered: 12/6/04
Frank Allen
Posted: Dec 15, 1995 10:20 PM
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I'm wondering if anyone out there has taken Frank Allen's suggestion and
had him send to you his comments to Jack Price about the NCTM Standards.
I recently got a complete copy of the document from a friend and
colleague who knows Mr. Allen. (I've never met him or talked to him.) I
find much of what he says to be right on the mark, and I'm amazed that
with all the opinions that fly around on nctm-l that very little has been
said, either in favor or in opposition.

I have always felt (correctly or not) that it seemed as though the
Standards had been handed down to us from the heavens, and that we were
all to fall in line and begin to use this document to tell us how to
better teach our students. The fact that few of the recommendations in
the Standards are supported by research makes them very suspect. In
addition, the lack of any professional mathematicians on the NCTM Board
of Directors makes one question the entire direction of the NCTM.

Mr. Allen's questioning of the value of cooperative learning really made
a point with me. I'm all in favor of using whatever method works best with
the group of students you have in front of you, but the blind devotion to
cooperative learning that seems to be in the Standards is something I
find very worrisome. I have my own students do a lot of work together.
This does not fit the precise definition of cooperative learning that the
CL advocates would have me use, but my students are learning from me and
from each other. However, they are entirely responsible for their own
grade in my class. I have a lot of problems with giving "group grades".
I've heard the argument that they need to learn the skill of working
together in order to function in the business world once they leave us,
but I'm not convinced that the mathematics classroom is the place for

There is a lot more that could be said, but this has gone on long
enough. Sorry for the rambling nature of this note, but I thought it was
time to get some discussion going on about what Mr. Allen has to say.

Bill Roloff
Lake Park High School
500 W. Bryn Mawr
Roselle, IL 60172

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