To "OHBU" the rules are the same. When I was in college I took
Calculus, ODE, and PDE math courses. There are still distinct rules that apply.
The trick with math is knowing when each rule applies. The first and second
derivative of Sin are always the same, they never change. I deal with math and
physics every day, and there is no creativity in how you apply math. The only
creativity is in your assumptions, but that is not math, that takes
understanding of physics and is only used to approximate reality.Math itself is not creative, it is a logical linear method that is governed
strictly by math facts and rules. It is not like a language. 1+1=2 or you are
wrong.But that is a digression from my earlier point. How do you
expect your children to master multiple methods in the same time that used to be
used for mastery of 1?
re: Redshirt,Yes, I do have actual experience dealing with these
approaches. My own children are learning them and I've looked over the
curriculum with one of the middle school math teachers."Math is
a matter of memorizing specific rules." This is simply not factually
accurate. Math is a means to solving problems. The "rules" are one way
in which math can be implemented. In simple addition, etc, you are perhaps
correct. But when one gets to the advanced levels of math--the level these
earlier approaches are preparing the student for--there isn't just one way.
To build a rocket, one has to understand how math works and the concepts behind
the "rules" in order to solve problems and calibrate. When dealing with
gravity, aerodynamics, collisions, bridge building, computer engineering,
chemistry, physics, etc. math is actually more creative than you're
To "OHBU" have you actually dealt with the multiple approaches that they
are teaching? Most make so little sense that the teachers cannot explain them.
I had to sit down with my child once and work for 15 to 20 minutes just to
figure out how the method worked because it was so backwards.But
this, once again, leads us back to the same problem with the math standards. So
rather than the kids learning 1 method for math, they now have multiple methods.
How do you expect them to achieve mastery of those concepts if they have to
learn multiple methods in the same amount of time that they would have had to
learn 1 method?Math is not analogous to learning linguistics. Math
is a matter of memorizing specific rules. 1+1=2 always is the same, there are
no exceptions and it never changes.
"I'm not in favor of teaching kids 4 or 5 approaches to solving one
problem, when most cannot master 1 way. "This, to me, is
actually one of the strengths of the new curriculum. Admittedly, it's a
difficult transition for some, and particularly the kids in High School who have
been on one track and haven't had the benefit of the program from the
beginning. But the reason they are teaching the same problem several ways is
that they want kids to actually understand the concepts behind the math. Not
just "plug this here, do as I say, and parrot it back to me." Rather,
"here's why that number does what it does when you multiply it.
Here's what's happening to the number when you carry the one."
The problem with just teaching a series of equations and theorems, is that kids
never learn why they're doing it or how the numbers actually work. When
they reach more advanced levels, all they're doing is figuring out which
equation to plug in, rather than how to actually solve the problem.It's analogous to learning linguistics and etymology, rather than just
memorizing spelling rules.
Birder.... one statement you made points to a huge problem in education...."I'm not in favor of teaching kids 4 or 5 approaches to solving
one problem, when most cannot master 1 way. "The problem is that
you don't have just one kind of kid in school. 30 years ago those kids who
couldn't master the one way were told they were stupid and were sent of to
remedial classes. Now we mainstream everyone, and teach to no ones skill level
or way of learning.Fortunately for me, I didn't come out of
school thinking the grades I got were representative of my ability to learn. I
proved my point by getting a JD/MBA from a top 10 school. I enjoyed having the
last laugh at the 1 size fits all model of education.Unfortunately
too many kids end up in McEducation where they come out thinking they can't
learn - rather than understanding they just learn differently. Parents end up
frustrated because of the one size fits all education system. We need to
rethink the corporatization of education because it will leave too many people
on the side lines.
The problems with math are a combination of Common Core standards which are hard
to interpret and teach, poor instructional materials, and districts that are
trying to fast-track the implementation of Common Core without the requisite
materials to help teachers teach and also help kids and parents understand this
totally different approach. I teach in Jordan District, and our district adopted
math textbooks at the elementary level that were put together rapidly so that
the publisher could get the very lucrative school district contract. Many of the
explanations of math procedures are extremely poor. As a teacher of over 30
years, I read some of the problems and have no clue what they are saying. A few of the new approaches make some sense, but many do not. I'm
not in favor of teaching kids 4 or 5 approaches to solving one problem, when
most cannot master 1 way. Also, there is not sufficient emphasis on basic
computation skills that kids will need forever. Some of the concepts in the
Common Core are not age appropriate. Kids don't have the background to
learn algebra as early as it is introduced, for example.
@redshirt: on the money. When schools had to administer the old USBCT test the
biggest problem with how kids on the math was in the areas of add,subtract,
multiply and divide. Those of us in our 50's were drilled in those areas.
Flash cards were the rage. Today kids have a tough time with any math requiring
them to use paper and pencil, no calculator.
To those of you who claim it isn't the standards, you are wrong. The
standards have been messed up over the past 20 years or more. The problem is
that schools are trying to sound like they are meeting parents' demands to
teach more. So, rather than pushing the kids to mastery of 2 digit addition
until the kids are in 2nd grade, they now boast about teaching young kids
geometry, algebra, and other more advanced concepts.The problem lies
in the simple fact that the kids are taught so many different concepts that they
never master any of them. 40 years ago kids in the 3rd grade could handle
multiplication and division up to 12 by's. Now, kids are still struggling
with multiplication in the 4th and 5th grades.What I am writing
about I have seen first hand, and is not reported by anybody liberal or
conservative.What is the point of teaching algebra to kids that
still cannot add, subtract, multiply, or divide 2 digit numbers?
@winglish.... are you seriously trying to tell us that not having current text
books, and constantly evolving curriculum from the district or state are new
problems since common core? Really? My mom was an educator oat of her life,
and my wife is currently an educator..... and complaints on both of these topics
has been a constant for as long as I can remember.The good news for
my wife is her school is going all electronic from here on out... so hopefully
this revolving door gains some sanity.Common core is not the
problem..... how we teach in a modern world is what is being exposed.
"You are correct to blame the Common Core adoption, as all math courses have
been forced to adopt the new curriculum."Baloney. Trig is still
Trig. Algebra is still Algebra. Blaming Common Core is like blaming speed
limits on why you are late to church or work. If you look at what common
core prescribes for math, there is nothing in there that radically changes the
equation of how you teach math - pun intended.What has changed from
what i have seen is a change away from memorizing mathematical formulas with an
attempt to teach mathematical reasoning... learning how to apply the right math
to the right problem without focusing on which specialty it came from. For
those of us who excelled at word problems, and did horrible on the whole
"show your work" still of math - this is a bonanza. From those like my
son who thrive on memorization, he struggles with the new methods.New math has been a long time coming.... and it is still a work in progress.
The fundamentals are still the same though. This far predates "common
core"..... the new cause of all things evil.
Here is the biggest problem with Math. Of all the subjects taught it is the one
subject that requires students to work. I mean work. And if they don't get
it early they could care less. It is a hoop most must jump through for
graduation purposes. That is how they see it. I'm not being cold, cruel or
facetious here. It is a fact. Most adults today who are in their 50's and
60's were the same way but they expect their kids and their grand kids to
not only learn it better than they learned it but to like it as well. For most
that puts math up there with broccoli and Lima beans. Gotta eat them when the
parents are looking but when they aren't it gets tossed down the commode.
Kids figure out the math stuff after high school and most will never
use Trigonometry so why do we push it on them in Math 3, at the high school
level. Just give them broccoli and tell them "eat one bite, keep it down,
and you can graduate". You will have a better chance there.
Winglish, thanks for the response. But in your response you hit the
nail on the head. It's not Common Core that is the problem. It's
money again. And confusion. And a confused school board. And district
administrators who retired long ago but still occupy an office. And a
legislature that is trying to destroy public education.It's not
the Common Core.Frustrating, isn't it?Hang in
there, though. And thanks for being a teacher.
My daughter is getting an excellent education with calculus here. Blame it on
YOUR own local area. Go to a school board meeting.
@one old manYou can bet your own life and everything you own that I teach
in a public school in a Utah school district. I work in a district that still
does not have new textbooks which match the Common Core, around which our
students took their SAGE test this year. Allegedly the district is going
to have a three years long textbook adoption plan. Math is scheduled to go
first, followed by science, followed by English. Meanwhile, all three groups
have had to follow the new core curriculum with teachers creating all of their
own assignments and assessments. Then once the textbooks are finally adopted,
the teachers' extra efforts over the past three years will be for naught.
That's assuming the district follows through with the textbook adoption, as
there were those on the school board in favor of waiting to see if Becky
Lockhart's technology inititiative went through, which would have provided
funds to purchase computers on wheels and accompanying digital textbooks.Math teachers at our school have been experimenting with the Kahn Academy.
Science teachers and English teachers are winging it and hoping for the best.
Are teachers prohibited from giving handouts that clearly show all concepts
being taught? Couldn't those handouts include website references for
further study?Schools tell us that they need more money. Teachers
tell us they need smaller classes and more resources. What we really need are
people who think. Those of us in the business world have learned how to think
through a problem and then selecting the best practical solution. We don't
waste time dreaming of what we could do if we had more money. We have learned
that results count.
I too am an engineer and have tried to help fix math education. The math
education community has lost their way. Its very sad. Perhaps someday the
damage that has been done will be fixed, I have very little faith that this will
be done anytime soon.
The biggest obstacle for improving our educational system is parental
involvement. On one side of the spectrum there are the absent parents that
don't prepare their children to learn. On the other are the intrusive
parents that feel obliged to hand hold the teachers and question motives and
agenda, always citing their own education as sufficient credentials. Not sure
which set of parents is more infuriating.
Hooey, math teaching failures started long before Common Core. Using Glenn Becks
talking points to push a private education onto the populace is as transparent
as it can be. For years, especially in Utah, we have been giving education lip
service. Using retired coaches to teach geometry or an English teacher to
attempt to explain why math is important is as old as one room school houses.
Just remember for every child you push to the side with your rhetoric, you add
one more space at the point of the mountain.
Oh, are we down to common core again on our "bash education" batting
rotation already? Wow, we sure did cycle through, teacher tenure, teacher
unions, merit pay, etc. real fast! I guess now for the next few weeks we'll
have to endure letters like these and op-eds from journalists who haven't
spent a single day in a Utah classroom.Why doesn't this paper
ever interview teachers? Why don't they ever actually visit utah classrooms
and do any research?
Winglish claims to be a teacher. Hmmmmm. May I ask where and in what district
because he or she has written is simply not entirely true.
How many times has this letter writer talked to the teacher? How
many times has this student gone in before or after school with questions?School involves hard work. Some people think that they can just cruise
through school. They can goof off with friends during class time and then just
wave a magic wand on their homework and it'll be finished. Rather than you doing your student's homework and blaming common core,
why don't you teach your student to pay attention in class and work hard
before and after school asking questions?
It's textbook publishers pushing some new agenda. It's not common
core.Textbook publishers, like car manufacturers, must come up with
some new gadgets and gizmos as they try to outshine their competitors. College
education professors must try to devise some new innovative curriculum every
year or so. They sell it to the publishers. In turn, the publishers send out
slick salespeople to convince school districts or state education textbook
committees that this newest nonsense will solve every educational challenge the
state or district faces.It's not common core.It's big money.
Failure to provide a math textbook is a huge problem that many, many schools are
facing. You are correct to blame the Common Core adoption, as all math courses
have been forced to adopt the new curriculum. Meanwhile, school districts have
to wait for publishers to create and perfect textbooks that align with the new
curriculum. Simultaneously, several classes of students are missing out on
resources for learning (i.e. textbooks, teachers who have taught the specific
class/curriculum before, valid assessments, etc.)This mess is compounded
by pressure to move to digital curriculum rather than the traditional textbook.
The school districts are spending time and money studying and experimenting with
various types of computerized math programs. Legislators are fighting over
whether or not to provide funding for needed technology while failing to provide
funding for basic textbooks. The Common Core adoption has been a disaster. I am a teacher. It's sad that I have to apologize for the actions of
those who control my profession. I'm sorry, friends. Most teachers I speak
to would return to their textbooks and familiar curriculum tomorrow, no
questions asked. Others would just like a textbook, period.
Oh baloney. The problem with math books for years is that old engineers write
them, and everyone knows engineers can't write.
No textbooks provided?Sounds like a problem with funding to me.