I taught math, very briefly. I taught in parochial school. My students voted math their favourite subject.
There is no teacher test in the world that will tell the principal what he or she needs to know in order to say, "I can see from the results of your teacher test that your students will vote math their favourite subject."
I left teaching because I could not afford to live on the pay in a parochial school, and I refused to embrace the theories in education propounded by those hired by the "boards of ed" to improve education in public school.
"Okay, class, how much is 10 x 10?"
"Okay, class, Billy says, 10 x 10 = 99"
"Now there are some old-fashioned, draconians who insist that 100 is the only correct answer. However, even if we pretend they are right, Billy said 99. That makes Billy 99% correct."
When I was in High School, we were told that only two high schools in the state required 4 years of math. I didn't go to one of those schools. I went to the other one. My grades went as follows. c; c+; b; b+; A!
I earned an exemption from the final exam. Jesuits do not believe in grade inflation. What I accomplished was hard work. Thus, I worked hard.
The problem with every theory on how to improve education that is implemented in the classroom is that it is predicated on the assumption that the students embrace the theories of the person(s) who've come up with the theory.
The results of the projected improvements in student performance are not connected to the performance of the students. The results are intended to validate the theories of the experts who've implement them. In short, the experts got paid to do that stuff.
My understanding of the "every child is gifted" school of education is that every child can (wants to) learn math at a very high level. It never occurs to anyone that to learn math at a very high level means not doing something else at a very high level. Drama club, soccer, oil painting, learning to play the French Horn. Dare to suggest that to any expert and he will insist that these are not mutually exclusive. He insists on that because that was what he got paid for.
Certainly, any child can learn high-level math. I will say that again for those who will choose to pretend that they "must have missed it, still..." Certainly, any child can learn high-level math. Now, each child, learning at his or her rate/consistent with ability will take varied amounts of time. If those running the school insist on mainstreaming, the teacher in a class of 30 will perhaps, explain the lesson to 3 children once, 4children twice, 5 children three times, 6 children four times, 5 children five times, 4 children six times, 3 children seven times. This alludes to the bell curve the author referenced at the beginning of the article. Now, explain how the first three children will learn high-level math, listening to the same lesson seven times. Yes, any child can learn high level math.
To understand the use of math to obfuscate the problems in education, lets look at reading. And Professor Harold Hill.
Yes, my friends, you have trouble. Right here in River City, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stand for phonics. You have one, two, three, four, five vowels in the alphabet. With 21 consonants you have 62 trillion, 900 billion, aught '09 combinations. No wonder your children can't read. You don't need to know phonics to talk, do you? You just think of a word and say it."
Back to math.
If your children haven't memorized the times tables (grade appropriate), your children will be spinning their wheels in math. Compare and contrast that statement with those who say,
"Memorization stifles creativity. No wonder the Chinese children and the Russian children and the German children outperform our children in international math competitions."
If any of you have doubts about the veracity or efficacy of what I have to say in this monograph, please enjoy some further reading.
"Teachers aren't allowed to teach anymore."
"How many parents want their children to get the appearance of an education?"
"No excuse to fail."
Three monographs on my blog about classroom happenings.
For my challenge to the experts, my blog contains a monograph entitled, wait for it,
Please feel free to Google me. Slim Fairview.
Copyright (C) 2011 Slim Fairview