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Math Class Needs A Makeover

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One thought on “Math Class Needs A Makeover

  1. Steve Cohen says:

    The notion of patient problem solvers hits the nail right on the head. Engaging kids to solve problems with intuition and cooperation sets us (as a society) up to succeed. Giving kids a cookbook for common problems, on the other hand, sets us up to flop on the pavement when we need the volume of a cone.

    The truth is, of course, that most problems are uncommon, Or if not uncommon, at least well-disguised as uncommon. Einstein was right (of course) – figuring out what the problem is and how to solve it is the critical piece. We need to emphasize this.

    I’m sure you are aware the NEAs Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), and their “Four Cs” (http://www.nea.org/tools/52217.htm). This video makes many of the same points and pushes in the same directions. We, as a culture, need to de-emphasize cookbooks and emphasize learning to cook, de-emphaisze plans for a bridge and emphasize designing bridges, de-emphasize paint-by-numbers and emphasize expression.

    Your future students are already extremely fortunate to have you as a teacher. How much more so to have a teacher who has been exposed to this and thought enough of it to include it in her blog. Your challenge will be integrating these methods into a discipline as formal as Geometry, while making sure your kids are ready for the standardized exams (ugh). I am certain you will do so fabulously.

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