I also completed your survey and wish you all the best on that endeavour.

Cheers!

]]>I can see major challenges to implementing some of the book’s most creative ideas in a public sector/union setting – best wishes in overcoming those hurdles!

I’m also a big fan of consuming audio while commuting and doing chores. I tend to focus on audio podcasts (e.g. I Love Marketing) though I enjoy the occasional audiobook as well (e.g. John Maxwell’s leadership books).

One last point. I’m running a survey of readers of “The 4-Hour Work Week” right now ( http://svy.mk/1nNT9T4) for an article I’m writing. It would be very helpful to me if you could fill out the survey – it’s just 10 questions.

]]>Very interested to check out the file. I am on my MacBook Pro and don’t have Geometer’s Sketchpad installed (probably should). Will check out on my iPad! Sounds like a pretty cool idea if I understand you correctly. Hope summer is treating you well! ]]>

http://mail.wecdsb.on.ca/~david_petro/sketches/PythagoreanAreaV5.gsp ]]>

Great debate, indeed! I know things have calmed down in the comments here and it has allowed me to better communicate the intention of the original post.

What I believe to be true (and my educational beliefs are constantly changing based on my own experiences) is that the real multiplication issue is student understanding. I think knowing multiplication tables is a huge benefit, but most pro-multiplication table memorizers imply (intentionally or not) that the focus should be solely on rote repetition when I believe this is a band-aid solution.

Automaticity is only beneficial if students know how to apply these skills. If students have a deep understanding **AND THEN** learn their multiplication tables, they can do some serious problem solving. Without the understanding, I’m afraid that knowing multiplication tables alone will cause problems in later years as understanding gaps increase.

I am also trying to make connections between students who clearly memorize procedure in math and are unable to apply their knowledge to any unfamiliar (unmemorized) situation. My concern is that we promote memorization so early and often without the focus on understanding that these students in particular begin to memorize their way through school and eventually hit a wall. We then label these students as “not naturally good at math” when I think we are partly responsible for sending them down that path.

Good points added by all.

]]>Again I understand your point of view. I do believe that there is a great need for proper math teachers and that mathematics has to have a change in teaching. Where I am struggling to understand your argue,net is in the way that we need to teach it, or the tone of the conversation. I hear your frustration as I feel it with a lot of parents both in my school and the ones I tutor.

Firsts, sources.

1) would be my own study, which is soon to be published. The impact of teachers questions on the learning of part-whole relations and the the benchmark model.

Also look at the work of Fosnot and Dolk (2002), Alex Lawson’s work (2013), look at pothier and Swandas work on stages of development in fractions (1969). The study on algorithms hurting fraction is in by nancy Mack (1990) and later in her work 1995. I have more as I have delved into this for the past four years. Also read John mighton’s book huge proponent of procdural understanding yet he quotes that I believe strongly that teachers should allow students to discover things independently whenever they can.” However, he states that their needs to be guidance and understanding along with this.

2) you say new math: yet this debate has been going on since math was introduced to schooling. You should read the history of how curriculum was developed to understand the reasoning behind why schools started teach computational facts (again please know I am not saying that they are not needed)

3) I tutor many highschoolers students who struggle in math. There reasons are many but one yes is fact recall; however, because I only have one short semester or summer I start with problem solving and a grade four/five curriculum. I now have all (7) of my students at level in grade eleven. Most are in the university math programs and many now think about applying for university. Not saying that these should be considered a reliable study but their is proof in the story telling (as you shown with your daughters story)

4) your daughter. Have you ever thought that the only missing piece to her success was just her fact recall and procedural knowledge and that the reason why she picked it up so quickly was because she had a good deep conceptual knowledge? Just wondering.

5) I also have a problem with your mind set that only some people can do math. I don’t think that is true. I believe that many people have higher talents in that area but if you subscribe to this mind set you then believe that we can only achieve in areas were we have natural ability,which as a parent and an educator I sure hope you don’t believe.

Again, I am not stating that we should be teaching one over the other. In fact I am saying we need both for good sting foundational learning. You cannot just have one or the other. I also think that not all inds think a like and a teacher has to learn to balance all those needs in the classroom. What Kyle was showing is an understanding of a way to reach kids. Some others need more.

Just my two sense. Thank you again Tara for your thoughts and point of view and Kyle for allowing this debate to be hosted on your blog. I’ll stop now but Tara if you want to continue please email me.

]]>As for Gretzky, you are wrong there too. Most of what he learned was through daily practice out on the backyard rink. He had an intuitive sense on the ice through hours of just practicing daily. Any professional athlete will attribute these hours of regular practice as the FOUNDATION of their success. If regular practice was deemed ineffective, or not as very important as you state here, then why do they still spend 8-10 hours/day on very specific tasks? The theory part comes AFTER the foundation is established. This is the very fundamental argument that Kyle and other reformers fail to recognize. They would rather try and rewrite the book of education (again) just because technology has changed.

Which brings me to your other incorrect statement.

Turning on a computer, or uploading an app on our IPHONE, is not “knowledge”…it’s simply gathering information. It doesn’t make us smarter. We still have to know how to find the answers…efficiently, and effectively. There are no shortcuts here, we still have work to do to get the answer. The biggest critics of these new bumbling math strategies, are coming from the same business leaders who are creating these 21st century jobs. Biggest complaint? Poor math skills…and they’re getting worse. Because learning math fundamentals are no longer a priority in school. And it’s showing in the workforce.

Why doesn’t everyone like math? Why do you think? Because it’s hard. It’s always been hard, and there have only ever been SOME people who liked it. But, previously, most of us were pretty decent at it. We all knew how to compute our multiplication tables, and use the 4 standard algorithms to compute basic equations in our head. Knowing these fundamentals are the basis of ALL problem solving skills. This will never change. Nowadays, though, forget it. Kids aren’t being given the chance because they’re not learning it in school, and not one school age child I know, even likes math. Ever hear the story of the young cashier being stymied counting back change when the till isn’t working and they have to do it manually? We’re all familiar with that scenario. Didn’t happen nearly as much 10 years ago, and hardly ever happened 20 years ago. Today? All the time. You mentioned success with these strategies. I’ll tell you a success story. My eldest has always been a very strong and interested student in school. She had a rudimentary understanding of math when she entered Kindergarten, and after 4 years of learning these convoluted strategies in the classroom, she sure displayed tremendous success when showing how these strategies worked!! Problem was, by the time she got to Grade 5, and for the first time, had her teacher assess the class to find out where the kids were with their math skills, she fell apart. She had no idea how to compute 2+3 in her head…or in columns on paper. All those computer games and various grids and lattice multiplication FAILED to help her understand arithmetic. She excelled at these strategies in the classroom, but failed to understand that it had anything to do with math. The next week we enrolled her in Kumon so she could figure out the fundamentals….properly, and 9 months later she was a full year ahead of her peers. THAT, is the reality of math these days. These ridiculous notions I read here, are bunk. The reason these math petitions are being circulated so quickly across this country, is because too many of us are beyond frustrated with this latest pop theory edu babble junk which has invaded our classrooms, and damaging our kids. It’s NOT been proven to be more effective than more straightforward methods, it’s NOT been proven to increase kids’ understanding of math (in fact it’s going the other way. More kids are losing interest altogether, or being enrolled in learning centres to learn math properly), and it’s failing our kids. THAT is why our PISA results are spiralling downwards…and are getting worse every day.

More stories as to why these strategies are hurting our kids? I have hundreds of them. I have spoken to dozens of tutors and teachers here in BC and receive emails from many others every single day. Math, when taught properly, has ALWAYS promoted understanding through memorization…always. These new strategies are parking the cart before the horse. And look closely at the school curriculums. Much more watered down than ever before. Jobs of the future? All business leaders I have spoken to are screaming for stronger math fundamentals in their employees. There’s work to be done here folks. Stop with this nonsense and get back into the business of teaching math properly.

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