Q&A #8654

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: textbooks and publishers

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From: Loyd Epperly

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002071506:44:52
Subject: Compact Math Books That are Manageable Size

A few years ago, most math books (algebra I in particular) were about
the size of a best selling novel.

Now they are huge with many illustrations, many notes etc.  These
large books are so heavy, the young kids struggle to carry all their
books in their back packs. 

I personally prefer a concise book that contains the core material for
the kids I teach.  Much of the extra material in the large books is
beyond the ability of about 50% of many of the students.  Even I, a
good reader, do not want the wade through the glossy write-ups these
books give.  

I will relate one example.  My son, in high school, was using a book
by Thomas.  I bought a book by Thomas that was being used in the local
university.  The high school version, was much too wordy to learn
from, although the books contained much of the same material.  

The other day I picked up a compact little book that presented basic
arithmetic through algebra.  This book was intended to be sort of a
reference book, but I was surprised that the treatment of linear
equations, quadratics was complete and very concisely presented. A
certified teacher could very effectively used that little book for
algebra I.    

If a teacher is certified in mathematic for high school, I don't think
they should be saddled with an oversize heavy book that tries to cover
every trick problem in the book, especially when 30 to 40 percent of
our students are failing in high school algebra.   

What is difficult in teaching algebra I, is teaching the basic core
material that is common to most text books published since 1950.  
A paper back review text sold in most book stores, is about the right
approach in my opinion.  

I think the books are big, because the school boards keep hiring
uncertified or nearly uncertified mathematic teachers and they need
all this extra material to teach the class; therefore the books are

My opinion only.

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