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The New Math

Date: 07/05/2000 at 13:26:02
From: Harold Williams
Subject: The New Math

What is the "New Math?"

Date: 07/05/2000 at 22:45:13
From: Doctor Jaffee
Subject: Re: The New Math

Hi Harold,

The "New Math" is an expression that refers to a method of teaching 
mathematics that had its origins in the late 1950's and was adopted by 
many school systems in the 60's, peaked in the mid-1970's, and then 
faded out.

Its purpose was to modernize mathematics education by stressing the 
understanding of concepts, rather than memorizing methods for solving 
problems. The proponents of this system hoped that if students 
understood the structure of mathematical systems, they would 
understand why they were doing what they were doing, as compared to 
earlier students, who were able to solve math problems by memorizing 
techniques that their teachers provided but didn't really know what 
they were doing or why it worked.

Unfortunately, many teachers were not prepared for these revolutionary 
ideas. The media ridiculed and satirized their attempts and students 
became frustrated by the situation.

Officially, "new math" was scrapped, but many of the better ideas of 
the "new math" were incorporated in newer texts and the current 
Principles and Standards of the National Council of Teachers of 
Mathematics follows the spirit of the ideas of the "new math."

- Doctor Jaffee, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
Elementary Math History/Biography
High School About Math
High School History/Biography
Middle School About Math
Middle School History/Biography

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