What do you think of this idea?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by orangetea, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Feb 13, 2014

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  3. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    I fear I would be out of a job if that would happen!

    That said....

    Most of what I teach many of my students will never use, but the same is true of pretty much every subject. I don't use Shakespeare or the War of 1812 or covalent bonding. Ideally there would be more course options available to students. Not sure how I feel about having kids just solving puzzles, but I know many of my kids will never use logarithms or rationalizing denominators or Law of Sines....
    Many of the students I teach don't have those fundamental skills with fractions etc. as discussed by this teacher. I think a course to focus on developing these actual life skills with math may help some students more than forcing them into algebra 2.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think he's great! A lot of what he says meshes with Jo Boaler and growth mindset. I don't think he's saying get rid of algebra and higher math, but to approach it from a different angle.:thumb:
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Don't agree with him. I admit, I didn't watch the entire 15 minutes video, I skipped parts, so maybe I missed important information. But to me, it seems like he makes 1 good point and builds his whole reasoning on it, and he generalizes and exaggerates and therefore it is not a valid argument (not to me, anyways)

    It is true that there are a lot of things in math that we will never use, and will forget as soon as we're not required to remember them. But there is so much more that we use in daily life, we might not realize it though, he dismisses it all.
    I'm also a firm believer that a high school diploma testifies that you have fulfilled the requirements of a GENERAL education, which means you have a general idea of a wide range of subjects. When you go to college, you can specialize in your field, but you need to be able to do basic math stuff (and not just adding and subtracting)
     
  6. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    For me, I completely agree with the idea that math instruction needs to change. I get students who do not know how to THINK, but are only applying formulas. Many "smart" students do not know how to ask questions, logic, find the relevant information, etc. Many students have not made the connection between logic and math, and have not been given the chance to discover the reasons that things happen on their own. Students aren't given the chance to argue about math. I try my very, very best to make this happen in my classroom.

    But the idea that math should be optional after 6th grade seems like a terrible idea. Does a 6th grader really know what he/she wants in life? What if the student realizes that he really likes engineering in 11th grade but hasn't taken math since 6th grade?

    In addition, this idea would be terrible for students whose parents aren't as invested in their education. I can easily see parents from high socioeconomic areas ensure that their students take math, and students from low socioeconomic areas stop taking math. This would only widen the achievement gap.

    One of my favorite parts of math is the way that it makes you think. This is most definitely useful across disciplines. I've found that mathematical thinking has greatly helped me in taking philosophy courses. In addition, math majors tend to do very well at law school. The idea that math should become optional makes no sense to me--although I completely agree with the idea of restructuring the curriculum and moving away from a lecture-based model.
     
  7. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I agree with you--I think offering different types of math classes would be great. The last high school I worked at had about 5 different English seminars students could take in their senior year. I would love it if we could do the same with math.
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I agree with him. Although I would require traditional math through middle school.
     
  9. RadiantBerg

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    I think the argument is what constitutes "basic math stuff". To some, it may be triple integrals in polar coordinates. To others, it may be calculating a tip.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think many to most people (general population) would agree with the speaker's explanation of basic math.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I'm not convinced. What his conclusion led me to ponder is if more of the logic and critical thinking games were a part of earlier education, would upper math be as difficult for people? Is math difficult for some because they lack those thinking skills needed to be proficient in upper math?

    Some are bad in math because of memory problems and number sense problems, but for almost everyone these skills could be developed if the proper instruction and time was spent working on the deficit areas.

    So, chicken or egg? Would more people that would love to pursue scientific fields if they were only good with math be able to fulfill their dreams if earlier grades spent time developing thinking skills?
     
  12. Glühwürmchen

    Glühwürmchen Rookie

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    This video hit home for me because this semester I have to take "Applying Math to Real Life" (it was the only math class that fit into my schedule). It is almost exactly like the things he described at the beginning of the video (studying famous mathematicians and math in nature, doing puzzles).

    So I think it's a balancing act. Yes, most people won't use everything they use at school, but you won't know that until you're out of school. By 11th or 12th grade I think you should be allowed to drop a subject or two that won't help you with your chosen career/college path (and focus on what will), but before that most kids don't know what they're doing or what they will need.
     
  13. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    I saw a picture on Facebook that sort of applies to this; "Why are we learning how to solve a quadratic equation? Shouldn't we be learning how to pay taxes, or manage money, or learn what a mortgage is?" I agree that elementary math is necessary, but I think the nation needs to add what I would call "practical math" classes that teach us stuff like taxes and mortgages and stuff like that. But we could also give students who want to learn higher level math learn it.
     
  14. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    You wouldn't make math mandatory in high school? Can I ask why?
     
  15. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    But quadratic equations have many, many applications.
    And they teach you how to THINK. That's important.
     
  16. RadiantBerg

    RadiantBerg Cohort

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    We have a class called personal finance that students are required to take in order to graduate that covers all of the topics you listed. It is taught by the business ed dept--not the math department.

    Of course the kids absolutely hate it so they will complain no matter what you're teaching them.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    As I said, I agree with what he said in the video. Pretty much sums it up. :)
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Interesting video.

    First point: "Much that we need is elementary math"--I find middle schoolers still don't know elementary math such as percent, fractions, and decimals. Therefore, middle school is an important math time. I don't agree with anyone not taking math in grades 6-8.

    His point about advanced math may have some validity. I just would put the line more around 10th grade math than 5th or 6th grade math.
     
  19. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Hmm I guess I'm just failing to see the benefits of non-mandatory math in high school.
     
  20. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Like others have said you could say the same for a lot of subjects. I doubt I would ever need chemistry or physics in my life. I will most likely forget a lot of history and biology as well. Do I really care about reading Macbeth?
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    He spoke of math anxiety which presents in kids as early as age 5...I do think puzzles, critical thinking problems, hands on learning and math talk can reduce that anxiety, make learning 'fun' and bring out those thinking skills needed for later math.
     
  22. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I do agree that this makes sense.

    What I'm advocating for is requiring students to get as close to a liberal arts education as possible. I think every subject is incredibly important for its own reasons. More options for older high school students to take would be great.
     
  23. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Agreed 100%.

    I think these ideas could be incorporated into higher math as well. In my class, we have many discussions about math as students try to make their own conjectures and discuss them. I would love to have more time for logic puzzles , but unfortunately don't.
    I've also found writing about math to be great for students. It takes time, but allows students to clearly explain their thinking and staff learning about mathematical writing. (The first time I've written a paper in math was in my second year of college. I think that's much too late).
     
  24. TeacherNY

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    It sounds like what we call Functional Math in the special education school I work in. It is basic math that will help students function in society.
    I honestly can't admit to knowing much about what goes on in high schools nowadays. When I was in HS (foreign language class) we read about how students in different countries go to different high schools based on what skills they wanted to learn for a proposed profession. Would these kinds of schools work in our country? Would be be too expensive? That would probably eliminate students taking courses they have no interest in? Maybe? Maybe not?
     
  25. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I learned all of that in economics (which is a graduation requirement in NY).
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Did you watch the video? (Don't read that as snotty as it may seem. Haha.)

    It's not about eliminating math in high school, but offering different math.
     
  27. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Oh yes! I completely agree with offering students different options of math to take. I wouldn't want to eliminate the math that we teach now, but restructure how we teach it. (I think the math we teach in high school now is extremely useful for students who study math/science in the future.)

    I just don't agree with making math optional in high school.
     
  28. Glühwürmchen

    Glühwürmchen Rookie

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    It's funny because in Germany at least they're starting to copy our concept of high school where kids of all levels go.

    It's hard to say if it would work here at not. In Germany, the norm is basically having every kid predestined for college or not by 4th or 5th grade. Thankfully things have gotten a little less rigid in recent years, but that culture shift here would be tough.

    There are two things I think we can learn from other countries in this regard
    1. In many countries you can drop 1-2 subjects in 11th grade in order to focus on what will be important for you.
    2. Greater focus on technical education.
     

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