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Q&A #2916

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Accelerated Math program

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From: vm <mindcandy@care2.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005093023:32:24
Subject: Re: accelerated math program

Thank you for posting your message.  Everybody seems to praise this
system from what I've read about it.  I felt like I was alone in
thinking that it's a horrible way to teach math.

I'm not a teacher but I am a parent.  My son is in the 5th grade.  At
the end of the 4th grade his class had just started on simple
division.  By the end of summer, I had him working on long division
with multiple numbers.  Now, he's failing math.  I couldn't understand
it... 

One night I had him bring home his practice sheet so that I could see
what he was doing wrong.  He had everything correct.  The next day, he
came home and said he missed eight of them!  I'm a chemical engineer -
I know my math and he didn't miss one of the problems.  Then he told
me about the scan cards so I asked him to bring one home.  Apparently
they aren't allowed to, but he (covertly) brought one so that I could
see what he was doing wrong.  Again, he worked out the answers on the
worksheet and all were correct, but when he went to fill in the
answers on the scan card... I don't know how they expect young
children to completely fill in the small ovals or erase a million
times or keep track of where they were at. He spent 5 minutes arguing
with me that he had not marked both A and D on the same problem
number!  He honestly could not see it.  He'd skip whole sections of
writing down answers or repeat what he had already written down.    No
wonder he's failing!  Plus, at school, he's in a hurry to finish
because he can't go out for recess unless it's complete.

I absolutely do not agree with this way of teaching!  My love for math
grew because of the wonderful patterns.  You learned one problem, did
similar problems, then it changed slightly and you learned how to
adapt what you already know.  By this method you learn not only the
math, but also how to adapt your thinking.

This is not a way to get children to love math or to learn how to
think for themselves.  What we are losing by doing this are the future
scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and math teachers!

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