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Readers Respond: Too Much Math? What Should the Emphasis Be?

Responses: 6


Have you looked at the math curriculum in your jurisdiction? If not, it's worth having a look at the daunting amount of math that students are supposed to be taught. Teachers everywhere are complaining that the math courses of study/curriculum is daunting. They say, there isn't time to 'do it all'. The mile long, inch deep approach in teaching rarely leads to permanent learning, yet, each time the math curriculum is revised, it seems that more is added. What is the solution? What math is essential? Does technology help to support a reduction is what should be taught?

More Math

We need more math and we also need better teachers.
—Guest writwing

To: Guest JMM

You teach math at the college level? Maybe you should take a grammar class while you're at it.
—Guest readers

NOT ENOUGH MATH-it is a JOKE in the US

I teach math at a local university. Every semester I am appaled by how little math my students know, and they don't want to learn any math at all. At least 50% of them have know idea as to how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions, and some of them can't even add 1+1 without a calculator (I've seen this with my own eyes - I asked a student how much 1+1 was and she reached in her book bag, had to find her calculator, open it up, turn it on, and used it to add 1+1). They can't compute what to tip, have not idea how to compute the sale price on an item, they can't even figure out how to compute their average in class. And, they don't want to know. They just want to pass, even if it is just with the lowest "D" possible. These are college students. It is very, very SCARY!
—Guest JMM

Too much math? Add a little literacy

At any level, add an emphasis on understanding the language of math! Have each student prepare his/her own Math Translating Dictionary in words they understand ( and are correct)!I always start a new class with the importance of vocabulary, e.g., In a cooking class, the recipe for chocolate chip cookies starts with 1) separate 2 eggs BUT they don't tell you How Far Apart??? so, No cookies!! When studying, make sure that you never pass a word or concept that you do not understand. Learning stops and the rest of the text will become incomprehensible and you will feel distracted and bored. Peter Shepherd, The New Science of Speed Reading, 2003. "The only reason a person gives up or becomes confused or unable to learn is that he or she has gone past a word or phrase that was not understood." L. Ron Hubbard, The Modern Science of Mental Health, (Bridge Publications, 1950) I have used this for 11 years...and it works!! see me

More math game in education

I think there is too much boring math. Let's make our classrooms exciting with some games like http://mathiqgames.com They are fun and teach actual math skills!

Way too much math

As a high school geometry teacher, I was shocked and dismayed when my daughter, who was in third grade at the time, brought home a worksheet about volume. Really?! Elementary-level students should focus on the basics - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (that includes fractions). Don't allow students to use calculators, they need to master those math facts. Young learners should develop a love for numbers, not loath them. Take time to help them develop number sense. Algebra must only be taught when the students are ready to learn it. The idea that all middle school students should have algebra before reaching high school is preposterous! That's like saying all children should begin walking before their first birthday. Students develop the logical/spacial reasoning needed for algebra at different rates. But regardless of what we teach when, if parents aren't involved and setting high expectations for their children, no curriculum will produce high achievers.
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