MacLean’s – Why is it your job to teach your children math?

A recent article in MacLean’s Magazine (the Canuck equivalent of Time or The Economist) questions math curriculum reform. The gist of the article is that the math curriculum reform has created a confusing and over-complicated curriculum where neither teachers nor parents can keep up.  A concerned coalition of parents and professionals, called the Western Initiative for Strengthening Education in Math (WISE), is pushing for reform that would return to teaching fundamentals and standard algorithms.

John Scammell had previously taken WISE  to task in this blog post, sparking some good conversation that included some participation from WISE members.

I have mixed feelings myself, and the article is obviously full of hyperbole. They mention an engineer who spends 2 hours every night re-learning his children’s math so he could help them with it, which is something I find hard to believe.  However, there’s something to be said for simplicity. If teachers are not so comfortable with math themselves, and try teaching non-standard algorithms as rigidly as they teach standard algorithms, I could see that causing a lot of the confusion and creating more problems than it solves.  I also believe discipline and practice is something that we underrate in our math education.


About James C.

A pre-service teacher about to start his first teaching practicum.
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